Orwell Housing Association moves into Carlton Court
One of the saddest moments of the sham consultation meeting in Beccles was in many respects the most damning. A former governor of Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), and pretty much the sole member of the audience to support the NSFT Board, said what a wonderful job NSFT had done and that NSFT had to ensure that any replacement for Carlton Court was as wonderful and homely as the current bungalows at Carlton Court. The former governor had obviously read the consultation document and was as confused as the rest of us were when we first read it – he didn’t know it was a sham consultation. After a heckle or two, the Operations Director of NSFT was reluctantly forced to tell the questioner that the wards at Carlton Court had closed already. The Operations Director didn’t say anything much about the staff made redundant, given early retirement or moved elsewhere as part of the ‘improvements’.
On the 20th Day of Lent we exposed the closure of the Dementia Intensive Support Team (DIST) at the James Paget University Hospital, taking place within one week of the last public consultation meeting. What a coincidence that is! If it hadn’t been for a member of this campaign in the audience, the consultation wouldn’t have heard about the unannounced closure of the James Paget DIST team.
Now, we have discovered that residents of the Orwell Housing Association are moving into the supposedly ‘not closed and ready to reopen should the sham consultation decide’ Laurel ward at Carlton Court. The builders/planners have been in and an agreement between NSFT and Orwell Housing Association has been signed. NSFT has gone from ‘no immediate plans’ for the closed and empty wards at Carlton Court to Orwell Housing Association residents are moving in. All in less than one week from the end of the public consultation meetings ending. What a coincidence!
If the Operations Director of NSFT knew that Orwell Housing Association were moving into these NHS facilities, the public consultation in Beccles should have been told. If the Operations Director didn’t know, that is incompetence. Orwell Housing Association as tenants is not the same as empty!
NSFT is claiming that this move is related to the floods back in December 2013. However, this press release from Orwell Housing Association, issued last month, indicates that residents made homeless by last year’s flooding were expected to move back into their own accommodation by the beginning of March at the latest. Perhaps something has gone wrong and NSFT is acting as a good member of the community? But why was NSFT talking to Orwell Housing Association? The campaign has heard rumours that a decision has already been made regarding whether Carlton Court or Northgate should close. Is NSFT looking for a permanent tenant or purchaser of the Laurel and Larkspur wards at Carlton Court?