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Julian Huppert MP

MP questions decision-making process on Wessex Place

February 5, 2009 10:27 AM

Cambridge MP David Howarth is demanding answers over the failure to launch a public consultation into the closure of the city's Wessex Place.

Mr Howarth is scutinising the decision-making process which led to patients' relatives and Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust board members being notified of the closure but not the public or other interested groups.

He claims they should have been given the chance to comment on the move, future provision of the service and the future use of the building.

The Health and Social Care Act places a statutory duty on all NHS organisations to "involve and consult the public in proposals for change and decisions on how services operate".

Mr Howarth has written to Chris Banks, chief executive of Cambridgeshire PCT to express his concerns about the lack of public consultation.

Cambridgeshire County Council pays £690,000 a year for the upkeep and running costs of Wessex Place and Mr Howarth has also called for a meeting with chief executive Mark Lloyd to discuss the issue.

And he has met representatives of the Granta Housing Association, which runs Wessex Place, the centre's management and representatives of the health service union, Unison.

He said: "I am very worried about the growing perception that the decision was reached without going through adequate consultation.

"The residents of Wessex Place are vulnerable with complex needs and it is vital that we continue to provide this level of care for them and future generations in the city.

"I understand that the PCT's view is that consultation would be distressing for the residents and families, but it would be even more distressing for families to be left feeling that the decision was taken without considering all points of view.

"The public have a right to be given the chance to comment on this move and on the future use of Wessex Place."

Arbury County Councillor, Rupert Moss-Eccardt said: "We must ensure that, whatever happens, the residents are given the right care. I don't want to see these vulnerable people being shuffled around between sites for bureaucratic benefit.

"If Wessex Place closes, I would like to see a similar use for the building, which is nicely tucked away but not cut off. They have been good neighbours."