BY TOBY PORTER
FAMILIES ANGERED BY DECISION TO MOVE THEIR LOVED ONES
A home giving 24-hour care to 11 vulnerable dementia pensioners faces closure. Ann Moss House in Rotherhithe is being shut because it is not full, say home managers. But the families are furious at the decision.
Relatives managed to fight off the axe two years ago, with a plan to move residents to the Bethlem Hospital in Beckenham.
But the closure plan has been revived because of demand for residents to be near a major hospital.
They plan to make their feelings known at meetings with health chiefs of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) in the coming days.
One family, the Filces, whose mum Marjorie, 89, has been in the home for almost four years, say the staff at Ann Moss House have given her the best possible treatment and do not deserve to be made redundant or moved elsewhere.
The family already travel up to two-and-a-half hours to see her but moving her will add a minimum of another hour.
Marjorie’s son, Bob, a black cab driver and Millwall fan, was told by letter on February 17 that the home will close in August.
He said: “We are completely distraught. Mum was so lucky to get a place there.
“This home should be held up as a beacon to homes throughout South London.
“The staff are all angels. There is not one you wouldn’t love to have looking after your mum. I am at peace with myself because I know that – and there are not many you could say that about. Mum trusts them.
“But it is not just her – there are 10 other residents who cannot feed themselves and need constant care.
It is tragic for them.
“Doctors tell you that one of the worst things you can do to someone with severe dementia is move them.
The thought of closing this last remaining home in Southwark for these severely demented elderly people is worse than outrageous.
“The staff are openly crying with us. I leave my wonderful mum with people who I know will look after her as I would want her to be looked after.
“You have to be suspicious because it is on a prime piece of development land right by the Rotherhithe Tunnel. You can’t tell me that’s not what it’s all about.”
Her daughter Carol Flatman, 63, added: “We know mum is safe with the staff. You hear horrendous stories about people not being treated properly. But they treat her with the greatest respect – like she was their own mum – even when she is not very co-operative with food, medicine and washing. It will be terrible if those same people are not looking after her at the new home.
“We do not know why the five empty bedrooms cannot go to other people who need it from other areas.
And what will happen to other people who need this sort of special dementia care.”
A spokeswoman for South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust said: “SLaM and Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have been working together to look at the best way to continue to provide high quality care for older people with mental health needs. Working alongside the trust and other CCGs, this has resulted in plans to make changes to improve those services including a proposal to close the Ann Moss Unit.
“There are a number of things that we have taken account of when doing this work. In particular we are aware that we have decreasing demand for specialist care units that are not attached to a major hospital site, that levels of occupancy of the Ann Moss Unit are low, and that there are suitable alternative placements for the current residents.
“We understand that any proposed changes to specific services affecting patients will cause anxiety and we have worked over the last 12 months and more, to ensure that we can make safe provision for the patients, currently housed in Ann Moss Specialist Care Unit.
“The proposal is that Ann Moss will close in late summer 2018. The trust and CCG are working closely together to communicate with and support residents, their families or representatives, and staff throughout the period of transition.
“Families will have choice of where their relative should continue to receive care and we are doing all we can to make arrangements for patients to move closer to their families if that is their wish.
“Patients who continue to need a higher level of specialist care will have the option of transferring to the Greenvale Unit, near Streatham Common in Lambeth. This is a purpose-built facility for older adults with dementia and mental health problems, and provides an equally-high level of care to Ann Moss.”