East Clune Care Home in Clowne and Brimington’s The Spinney were set to close this September, with Holmlea Care Home in Tibshelf and Gernon Manor in Bakewell following in September 2021.
Derbyshire County Council initially said the homes ‘need significant improvement’ and, even if repairs were carried out, some were no longer fit for purpose.
However, a policy reversal was revealed by Derbyshire Conservatives before the weekend, not by Derbyshire County Council itself, which has yet to confirm a change in policy.
Coun Barry Lewis, leader of the council, announced a new pledge that ‘no care home shall close without another to replace it’.
More than 9,000 people had signed petitions objecting to the closures and the news was welcomed by campaigners who have fought to save the Spinney, at Brimington.
Yvonne Waddoups, whose 94-year-old mum Annie Stubbins, is a resident at the home, said she ‘could not believe the news’ when she was first told.
“It was such a relief and I am so pleased for the residents and staff,” she said. “It is a wonderful place and the staff have been fantastic over the last few months.
“They have kept on working with a smile on their face despite the pandemic and despite not knowing if they would have a job.”
Yvonne says her mum has been ‘very poorly’ recently and has been tested to see if she has had Covid-19.
“The council said the home wasn’t fit for purpose but Chesterfield Royal have been sending patients there for respite care.
“I never looked for another home for mum as I never gave up hope the Spinney could be saved.
“One of the residents, Michael Baxendale, has no family so The Spinney is his family. He has been so poorly with the virus and it's only the care and dedication of the staff that has pulled him through.”
Fellow campaigner Val Brassington said: “It is very good news but seems like a deferral to 2022 and we have got to see what happens then.”
Chesterfield’s Labour MP Toby Perkins said he was delighted the ‘strong campaign against these closures’ had forced the council to cancel them.
“It is clear from their statement that these closures have only been put on holds until after the election. The only way to guarantee that these care homes remain open is to vote Labour in 2022,” he said.
“I am angry that elderly residents, their families and staff have been put through this ordeal at a time when so many people are worried about the health of older family members.
“But at this perilous moment, this is positive news and I know the residents and staff at The Spinney and the other homes will be feeling very relieved that these homes have been spared.”
Conservative Coun Robert Flatley confirmed the reversal came after a ‘strong argument’ from the public.
He also said the new pledge would be under review – but denied this meant the pledge was temporary.