Derbyshire County Council has defended plans to close seven care homes for the elderly after coming under fire from the GMB Union.
The council’s ongoing consultation on the proposals, which include the closure of seven homes as well as the refurbishment of three others, was described as “callous” by the GMB Union in light of the current coronavirus pandemic.
Jon Smith, GMB Organiser, said: “We have been trying for some time to get an answer from the council. We asked them to at least postpone the consultation on the planned closures.
“It is ludicrous we now find out they plan to not only go ahead with the consultation but potentially put back office staff at further risk.
“At a time of a mass pandemic only Derbyshire County Council (DCC) could think it’s a good idea to close down elderly care home beds.”
Responding to the GMB, a DCC spokesperson said: “We understand there is concern around the fact we are continuing with our consultation into the future of some of our older peoples’ care homes.
“However, the sheer scale and nature of the work needed in these homes and the timescales within which this would need to be completed to ensure our elderly residents remain safe, means we must continue if we are to give people the chance to have their say.
“We don’t want to be in a position of having to consider taking emergency action to keep our older residents safe without giving Derbyshire people the opportunity to voice their opinions and for these to be fully considered before any decisions are made.”
The council’s consultation on the homes closes on 24 April.