THE bitter battle to save Lancashire's care homes came to a peaceful and unexpected solution this week.
Hyndburn Action Committee, along with groups from across East Lancashire, mounted a legal challenge in the High Court against Lancashire County Council's plans to close 32 care homes including four in Hyndburn - a move which they claimed was a violation of residents' human rights. But the hearing, which had been expected to last for five days, was cancelled at the 11th hour when a compromise agreement was reached.
The county council will still shut down 16 homes and temporarily close 16 more while refurbishments to bring them up to national care standards are carried out. But it has agreed that assessments of all residents will take place, medical professionals will be asked for their input on the risk of transfer, and where there is a risk the council will consider postponing the move.
Transfers will be avoided during cold weather and at times of staff shortages. The council will also consider the need to maintain family and other social contacts and residents will be moved in groups, with staff, to the refurbished homes.
It also pledged that "wherever practicable" residents will remain in homes in the same locality as where they currently live and will not be moved more than twice.
- See this week's Observer for reaction