6:00am Sunday 12th January 2014
By Elaine O'Flynn
CAMPAIGNING gran Gwen Parr has launched a petition to keep respite services at a “flagship” Westhoughton care centre.
She has collected dozens of signatures in a bid to force Bolton Council to change its plan to close intermediate care and short-term respite beds at Winifred Kettle care home, in Leigh Road.
It is part of a scheme which will see also Firwood House in Crompton Way close, as the council reorganises the way people are cared for after they are discharged from hospital.
Health bosses say the changes will mean residents will be cared for in their own homes, if possible.
Under the plans, Winifred Kettle will still run its day care services as an older people’s wellbeing centre — but retired business analyst Mrs Parr said the support it currently provides for elderly Westhoughton residents is vital.
The 73-year-old says she is concerned that should anything happen to her in the future, her husband James, who has Parkinsons disease, would have to travel to Breightmet to see her.
Mrs Parr, of Daisy Hill, said: “I’ve written to all the local councillors, Bolton Council’s adult services department, the MP Julie Hilling and MEP Robert Atkins about this issue.
“Winifred Kettle gives such a wonderful service, 24 hours a day. It’s a flagship. It’s our security and it is desperately needed by the community. We have now to go to the other side of Bolton to Laburnum Lodge — it’s awful.
“We are going to fight it as hard as we can.”
A spokesman for Bolton Council said the plans, developed in partnership with NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, were aimed at giving people more opportunity to stay in their homes after they have been discharged from hospital.
He said: “If given the option, many people who fall ill would prefer to stay at home first before having to leave their familiar surroundings, and nationally this is the proven route to recovery.
“We are proposing a simpler way of providing intermediate care services, which will see the number of intermediate care beds reduced from 80 to 62 and concentrated on two sites.
“This will still leave us with more intermediate care beds than are available on average throughout England.
“However, recognising that most older people would prefer to remain at home, the care provided in people’s own homes will be improved and increased to more than a third of what is currently available and will be provided 365 days a year.”
Residents are invited to email their comments to firstname.lastname@example.org before the end of January.
A further report finalising the proposals will be produced in February, with the plans due to be implemented from April 2014.
Copies of the petition are available to sign in shops in Westhoughton, including The Salon in Marsden Street, and the newsagents and pottery studio in Market Street.
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