Pensioners: One day you could need this unit

Lancaster District Pensioners' Campaigning Group with Coun Margaret Pattison and the 1,300 name petition against the closure of Altham Meadow Dementia Care Unit.
Lancaster District Pensioners' Campaigning Group with Coun Margaret Pattison and the 1,300 name petition against the closure of Altham Meadow Dementia Care Unit.

A pensioner campaign group will present a 1,300 name petition to the health trust that is due to close a dementia care unit in Morecambe.

The Lancaster District Pensioners Campaign Group (LDPCG), is demanding that Altham Meadows, in Westgate, should remain open with all 16 beds and the protection of all existing services and staff.

The trust is due to open a new unit covering the whole of Lancashire in Blackpool.

The group will present the petition at a Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust meeting at Preston Business Centre, Fulwood at 9am on October 3.

A spokeswoman for the group said: “Moving this vital service to a less accessible location endangers the viability of personal centred care for both the user and the carer. To visit the new service from Lancaster district on public transport would entail travelling on three bus journeys each way.

“This issue is of paramount importance because it will affect an increasing number of local residents, so it is vital that we impress upon the trust the strength of feeling as well as the many numbers who want to keep Altham Meadows open.”

Dr Amanda Thornton, clinical director of the adult community network at Lancashire Care, said that people with dementia have better outcomes and quality of life when supported to stay at home, and that only one per cent of people with dementia will need a specialist inpatient bed.

She added: “By providing these specialist beds from one location we can enable maximum investment in community services.

“It is recognised that this is different to how care has been provided in the past but we strongly believe this is the right way to meet the needs of an ageing population in the future.

County coun Chris Henig, who represents Lancaster South East, said: “It is clearly about saving money, and I think it’s horrendous. Dementia is potentially round the corner for quite a few people, and we need the beds here.”