Under the last Liberal Democrat administration, led by Councillor Derek Osbourne, with Councillor Liz Green serving as deputy leader, a promise was made to allow vulnerable and elderly residents to stay in the council-run ‘Murray House’ care home, unless medical need required more specialist care.
This was unanimously agreed at the People’s Services Committee on 19th March 2013, co-chaired by Councillor Patricia Bamford and Councillor Derek Osbourne, after opposition Conservative Councillors sought promises that residents who had already been moved to Murray House would not have to move again.
The Director of Adult Social Care, David Smith, said that the ‘absolute principle that the council is working to is residents would only be moved once unless through need, be this medical or specialist dementia care, not because the Council wanted to move them or having it imposed upon them.’
This was then reiterated by Councillor Derek Osbourne, who reassured families also that their loved ones would not be moved again unless there was a medical requirement forcing this.
Councillor Margaret Thompson, now portfolio holder for Adult Social Care in the new Liberal Democrat administration, sat on the original committee in March 2013, and in February 2018, stated publicly that she remembers the conversation and commitment given.
Why then, is the new Liberal Democrat administration recommending to close Murray House, when it was the Liberal Democrats that gave their commitment to keeping residents in Murray for as long as they were alive and able to live there?
What has changed? Under the Tories, I would understand their desire to cut until all the family silver has been sold off.
However, it was the Liberal Democrats who promised to keep Murray House open for as long as the residents were alive.
I would urge any Councillor sitting on the Adults and Childrens Committee on Thursday to keep this in mind and do the right thing, honouring Liberal Democrat commitments to families, by voting to keep Murray House OPEN until such time as former Newent residents have passed on or require specialist care.