UNISON is concerned about the future of vulnerable residents of Calderstones Hospital who will be moved into the community under closure plans. Please sign the petition.
Calderstones is a 223-bed NHS unit which provides high-quality care for people with learning disabilities and personality disorders. Some service users have been through the criminal justice system where it has been deemed inappropriate to send them to prison. Others are in Calderstones purely because of the high-quality treatment available.
Calderstones has been identified for closure following the Bubb Report, written in the aftermath of abuse at the privately-run Winterbourne View hospital.
You can sign a petition to Parliament calling for Calderstones to be kept open here.
UNISON, the union that represents staff at Calderstones, welcomes the trend towards care taking place in community settings wherever possible, but has serious concerns about the closure plan. Chris Chamley, UNISON Calderstones Branch Secretary said:
“Calderstones employs mental health nurses and trained health care assistants who are all committed to high quality service. The work is challenging and staff regularly are required to deal with physical violence, self-harm and suicide risks. Staff get to know service users, and know how to intervene when necessary to change behaviour.
“Currently, residents only move into the community when assessments indicate they are ready and able to do so, but amongst this group over 20% are readmitted to Calderstones because the community support proves inadequate. Some come back after going through the criminal justice system or after a period living on the streets. Calderstones currently provides a vital role, and it is very worrying what will happen to the safety of service users and the public if the closure plan goes ahead.
“The shift to more community-based services will require real investment and can’t be done on the cheap. The privately-run community care sector is characterised by low pay and high staff turnover. Service users need consistency in their carer, and a concern is that the vital relationship between service users and their carers will be weakened without better standards in community care.”
As well as UNISON, Healthwatch has expressed concerns about the closure plan. Lancashire County Council has described the extra money available to it to care for 50 current Calderstones residents as insufficient. UNISON has calculated the £640,000 of extra funding to approximate to just three hours care a day for service users who currently have 24/7 support.
The Branch have launched a petition to Parliament calling for Calderstones to be kept open here.