Row erupts over review of dementia care plan

editorial image
Share this article

Fury has erupted over the future of a Garstang care home caught in a multi-million pound wrangle over dementia care services in the county.

The latest twist saw Bowgreave Rise at the centre of a row at Wyre’s full council meeting, amid fears voiced by Garstang’s councillors.

An argument broke out between parties ahead of a motion urging Lancashire County Council to rethink a review of plans for a £5m dementia care centre of excellence at the home on Garstang Road, Bowgreave.

The plans had been given the go-ahead in February, but Labour announced a review when they took control of LCC in May.

The row, between Conservative Wyre Coun Ron Greenhough and County and Wyre Labour Coun for Fleetwood Ron Shewan, led to Coun Shewan accusing the government of failing to protect the most vulnerable.

In reply to Wyresdale Tory Coun Val Wilson’s plea to support the specialist facility, Coun Shewan said: “It may be an absolute necessity, but the fact is the previous council had to make £200m in cuts, the Labour administration has been saddled with £300m – they can’t do everything.

“There is no option when the government bring about these cuts.”

The motion had been presented by the former county cabinet member for health Val Wilson and backed by Coun Tom Balmain, Coun David Williams and Coun Lady Dulcie Atkins.

Coun Lady Dulcie said: “This hospital would have provided expert help, not only to those living in Wyre but the surrounding area.

“We live in an area with a high population of elderly

turn to page 5

people and I’m sure we have all known someone suffering with this debilitating illness, including my own mother.”

Coun Roger Brooks said: “I am very sorry a very significant motion has descended into this sort of discussion and you should no better.

“All sides of this chamber can support this motion - no one can dispute the seriousness of it.”

Coun Penny Martin, leader of Wyre Council’s Labour group said it was right to raise the profile of dementia and address the services of care available to patients.

“We need to work together on the best possible option and one that meets the needs for all the people in our community.”

Wyre Council unanimously passed the vote calling on the County Council to honour the original budget agreement.

However, Labour County Coun for health Lorraine Beavers added: “The £5million is still in the programme and it is extremely important but this is about reviewing the best value for money for dementia services.”

She said while she understood the disappointment for the people of Wyre, services also had to cater the larger area of Lancashire and resources would be placed where they were needed most.

“Nobody has yet come to any final decisions - I will support the motion but I am not in position to make decisions.

“We will come to the right an most appropriate proposal and not just because it was decided before.

“Everything we are doing will be done properly and above board.”

County councillor Tony Martin, cabinet member for adult and community services, said: “We are committed to developing services that provide the highest standard of care for people who have dementia.

“However, creating a new purpose-built dementia centre at Bowgreave Rise was never more than an initial proposal.

“In fact, a further assessment of the Bowgreave Rise site by officers concluded that it is unlikely to be suitable for a scheme of this nature and is probably not affordable within the proposed budget.

“We are committed to using the £5m to improve dementia services across the county, and this will not be affected by the £300m budget cut imposed by central Government.

“We are now looking at options that will achieve the maximum benefit from this investment. I’ll consider proposals from officers when they have completed that work.”