Fears remain over Green Close future

WORRIES over the future of Sidford s Green Close rehabilitation centre remain, despite radical changes to care-home takeover plans.

WORRIES over the future of Sidford's Green Close rehabilitation centre remain, despite radical changes to care-home takeover plans.

This month Devon County Council scrapped plans to transfer all of its 24 residential homes to private company Shaw Healthcare, opting instead to invite new proposals from other providers in a bid to "modernise" its care services.

However, limited negotiations with Shaw will continue and a new consultation process has done nothing to allay concerns for Sidford's valued NHS centre, which aids patients' recoveries from strokes, major operations and injuries.

At an executive board meeting on January 13, Cllr Hugo Barton, DCC's executive member for adult and community services, said the council's residential homes are guaranteed to continue but "perhaps not in the same venue".

Cllr Christine Drew, East Devon District Council's representative on DCC's Health and Adults Services Overview/ Scrutiny Committee said she still fears for Green Close's future.

She said: "Whether Green Close will go- we don't know, nobody will until tenders are in and contracts are signed. I know Shaw were talking about self-contained flat units as opposed to residential. Green Close does a brilliant job for the community and I want it to stay as it is. I do worry we are going to lose it."

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"I spoke to David Johnstone, DCC's executive director for adult and community services, and he told me local communities would get a say. Communities around homes would be able to have a meeting and put on the table what they would like to happen. I hope he keeps his word."

County Councillor Stuart Hughes wanted all plans scrapped and started again. He said: "At the end Of the day we are still talking of uncertainty for people involved with residential services, and my concerns are especially for Green Close.

"It is a flagship for the care and service it provides and long may it continue. I don't want to see its fantastic staff having to work under this cloud."

Cllr Barton said the modernisation programme is "desperately needed." He said: "Sitting on our hands and doing nothing is not an option".