Daughter angry about closure of Norfolk dementia care unit

A concerned daughter has blasted Norfolk County Council's plans to close a dementia unit in Blofield which she says has made a huge difference to her mother's life.

Allison Little, from Neatishead, is unhappy with the county council's reasoning for closing the Stocks Lane Day Centre in Blofield – which, as reported in Saturday's Norwich Evening News, is due to happen this autumn.

Ms Little's 82-year-old mother, also from Neatishead, attends the day centre five days a week as she has Alzheimer's disease.

The services provided at Stocks Lane are now planned to be merged into the Harford Hill day centre off Ipswich Road in Norwich.

The county council insists that the move is not a cost-cutting move, as it only leases the Stocks Lane bungalow – with the lease due for renewal next year – and it has offered all staff the opportunity to transfer to Harford Hill.

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However Ms Little, 51, said: 'They say the numbers have dipped down to three to five people a day but that's because they have allowed them to. The manager there told me it wasn't fair for them to start new people at the day centre with them thinking of closing it. I think they've been deliberately running the numbers down.'

Ms Little added: 'It's more than upsetting. They are lovely at Stocks Lane and my mother gets a lot of one-to-one care.'

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Another person involved with the home, who asked not to be named, also reacted angrily, saying: 'What the council has said is absolute rubbish. The numbers are down only because they have stopped referring people when it could be taking eight or nine people.

'These are vulnerable people and some of them don't like being in big spaces and are very nervous people, but when they are at Blofield, that's not the case.'

However, Sarah Stock, head of prevention, support and reablement services in the county council's Community Services department, insisted the council is not taking the decision lightly.

She said: 'I'm sorry this is causing such worry among family members. We've already offered to meet with every family affected by this change and we'll follow this up to try to alleviate any concerns people have.

'Saving money really isn't the motivation for this change, it's about wanting to make sure the care that's on offer in Norfolk meets demand and modern expectations.

'There has been a genuine drop-off in the number of referrals being made to Stocks Lane which may be down to a number of factors, including the greater choice people have since the introduction of personal budgets.

'With numbers attending as low as they are and with space available at a more modern day service with better facilities (Harford Hill), we feel it is the right time to begin the process to combine the two and allow people to do so at their own pace.'

- What do you think? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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