Closure of care home sparks concerns

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PLANS to close an “intermediate care” home which helps people cope with transition between hospital and home were examined by senior councillors yesterday who expressed their concern over the plan.

Highfield Grange at Wombwell, near Barnsley, has been put at risk after the pooled budget provided by both the council and local primary care trust was cut back, leading to a funding gap.

The home provides services for people who are either discharged from hospital but aren’t quite ready to go home or people who may otherwise be admitted to hospital without a short period of care.

Its future was examined by members of Barnsley Council’s personal and family well-being scrutiny commission yesterday, and calls were made for extra cash to be found to ensure it stayed open.

The chairman of the commission, Coun Jennifer Worton, said: “We are very concerned about the potential impact on vulnerable people if Highfield Grange closes on March 31.

“Unless effective arrangements are put in place for people needing intermediate care services then there could be real problems, especially for the hospital.

“We have asked both organisations to review whether there is any potential for additional funding to maintain the current service.

“Even if funding is only found to keep Highfield Grange open for just a few weeks beyond 31 March then this might give sufficient time to support transition arrangements, and will also take them into a period when pressure on the hospital is less intense.”

Coun Worton said the commission wants to hear from people who have friends or relative affected by the possible closure of Highfield Grange.

Submissions can be made to the scrutiny commission by contacting Elizabeth Barnard via email at ElizabethBarnard@Barnsley.gov.uk or by calling 01226 773066.