Six Surrey residential care homes will close, says council

Elderly woman being comforted by a carer Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption The GMB union said the closures would cause distress to elderly residents

Six local authority-run residential care homes for the elderly in Surrey are to close because they are too old and not fit for purpose.

A protest was held outside a meeting of Surrey County Council's cabinet as members made the decision.

The Conservative-run council said the homes could "no longer continue to cope with the needs of constant nursing".

Frank Minal, of the GMB union, said there would now be an uncertain future for the elderly people affected.

The care homes are Brockhurst in Ottershaw, Park Hall in Reigate, Cobgates in Farnham, Dormers in Caterham, Longfield in Cranleigh, and Pinehurst in Camberley.

'Very best care'

The GMB said 437 jobs were under threat.

A council spokesman said: "The most important thing is to make sure older people receive the very best care.

"We're helping many more people stay in their own homes safely until much later in life. Increasingly they require almost constant nursing when they do go into care and our homes can no longer continue to cope with their needs."

But Mr Minal accused officers of not listening to the concerns of the public or staff, adding: "It makes common sense to maintain a council provision to keep costs down, not only for the council but for the taxpayer."

'Residents to be moved'

Papers submitted to the meeting said the six homes had 133 permanent residents and 28 day care users.

The council wants a "phased programme" to move residents to other services, starting with Longfield and Brockhurst, then Dormers and Cobgates, and finally Park Hall and Pinehurst.

It plans to discuss how the properties could be used differently to "meet future adult social care needs".

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