Consultation pledge on Cranmer House in Fakenham

Cranmer House, in Fakenham, where beds are under review. Picture: Chris Bishop

Cranmer House, in Fakenham, where beds are under review. Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

Feelings are running high over plans to close 30 beds at a Fakenham care home today - as officials meet behind closed doors to discuss them.

Health chiefs want to replace beds with community care teams, who'll look after people in their own homes.

A meeting to discuss the plan is being held at Fakenham Racecourse this morning. But the two-hour session will be restricted to so-called stakeholders and will not be open to the public.

Fakenham town councillors agreed to demand a public consultation over the changes when they met on Tuesday.

Officials later pledged to 'engage with people' about the plans. A spokesman added: 'As part of this, we will be seeking the views and comments of people in the Fakenham area.'

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At Tuesday night's meeting, councillor George Acheson said staff had been told that Cranmer House could close altogether - despite assurances that its day centre would remain open.

'It's very likely that the county council will withdraw the day care beds,' he said. 'If that happens, the day care centre will close. It is likely the whole thing will go.'

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Mr Acheson said there were a number of questions which needed to be asked about the proposals.

Richard Crook said: 'This council should say they should be having a public meeting. We urge them to have a proper public meeting and have a proper public consultation.'

Celia Lee, chair of the Friends of Cranmer House has called on the North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group to consider the long term impact of the closure.

Beds at Cranmer House, on Norwich Road, are currently used for respite care for elderly patients.

But the clinical commissioning group believes some people staying in them could be better cared for at home.

Cranmer House was threatened with closure in 2007. Supporters lobbied successfully to save it.

Almost a decade later, officials say the challenge facing the NHS is to reshape health and social care to meet the needs of an ageing population.

One insider said: 'That involves major transformational change – ensuring that people have access to the individually-tailored support and care they need within their own homes and communities.

'This is because all the medical evidence suggests people stay well longer if they can remain active and independent.

'We need to ensure that services are in place to keep people well and prevent them being admitted to hospital, rather than being reliant on reactive bed-based care.'

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