Unite and Unison slam Southampton for care home closure plan

Trade unions Unison and Unite have slammed Southampton Council plans announced last week to close two older people’s care homes in the city.

In a joint statement they described the proposal to close Whitehaven Lodge and Birch Lawn after a four-week consultation this month as “shocking”. The homes, which provide around 90 beds and employ more than 70 staff, could be sold off for an estimated £1.5m following a council cabinet meeting on 29 September.

The unions and residents’ families have organised a demonstration against the sell-off on the date of the meeting. Unison branch secretary Mike Tucker said: “Staff working at the two homes are shocked by the news. Many of them face redundancy. It is completely unacceptable that the council has only given four weeks’ notice of the closure decision.”

Unite convenor Terry Hinton added: “We will fight tooth and nail to get this decision reversed.”

Cabinet member for adult health and social care Ivan White said the council was committed to allowing older people to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. He continued: “As a result the demand for our residential care is decreasing, and we are keen to ensure that we continue to plan for the future demand.”

White added that all in-house residential care services were currently being reviewed. A final decision on the future of Southampton’s residential homes will be made at a cabinet meeting on 27 October.

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