Care for the Elderly in Sheffield

5 Jul 2011

GMB raises concerns over the closure of 56 care beds for the elderly in Sheffield hospitals to save money.

People in Sheffield want and expect a cradle to grave free health and care service but that is not what is being provided and appallingly there is no plan in place to care for elderly in the City says GMB.

Joan Keane, GMB Lead Officer For Health said “Yet another report has been commissioned on how to pay for elderly care and the findings were announced yesterday. There seems to be no connection to what is in the report and what is happening on the ground here in Sheffield. It is therefore something of an irony that we note the collapse of care provision by Southern Cross. It is more of a deep concern that we learn of plans to close elderly care beds at the SheffieldTeaching Hospitals.

In the Sheffield area alone there are 16 Southern Cross homes, many of which could face closure in the very near future. We are told that all residents will be found alternative care.

At SheffieldTeaching Hospitals we are aware that a 30 day notice has been given that 28 elderly nursing care beds will go at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in August with further elderly nursing care beds to be lost at the Northern General Hospital in September. This will mean a total of 56 elderly care beds. There are also a number of ‘outliers’ awaiting beds.

The Trust take the view that care will be provided in the community. However, Sheffield PCT transferred it’s services to the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals on 1st April 2011 and it is not clear how nursing care will be provided.

The STH Foundation Trust has issued a consultation document, which gives no indication of how care will be provided. The document gives no structure of how care will be accessed and it offers no information about the impact this may have on staff.

Given the situation with private care provision and it is the cuts that have been imposed on the NHS which are forcing the closure of elderly care nursing beds. It is clear to see that this care is deemed as too expensive. However, the people needing nursing care as they get older, have paid tax and insurance for most of their working lives in the expectation that care would be available to them as the age and need nursing care. People in Sheffield want and expect a cradle to grave health and care service but that is not what is being provided.

It is appalling to note that those who are nearing the end of their lives have a cost on their heads. Who will care for them in the future we do not know. More importantly who will care for them after August is still unknown.”