Doncaster OAP’s dismay at care home closure plan

Jack Scales,87, pictured outside Gattison House, Rossington. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Scales MC 1
Jack Scales,87, pictured outside Gattison House, Rossington. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Scales MC 1

He is an 87-year-old pensioner who has served his country - and now he looks likely to be one of over 100 booted out of his home.

Former soldier Jack Scales is just one of 132 elderly and vulnerable people across the borough who could be forced to find somewhere else to live, if Mayor Ros Jones and her cabinet make the decision next week to close the remaining seven Doncaster Council care homes. Experts officially advised councillors to shut the homes on Wednesday.

When his family told him the care home where he is currently a resident was proposed for closure, he asked them: “Have I lived too long?”

Jack, who is blind and has poor mobility due to an injured hip, served in Egypt in the 1950s in the East Yorkshire First Battalion, and is currently a resident at Gattison House in Rossington.

Brother in law, Mick Roberts, who has been responsible for Jack’s care since his sister Mary Scales passed away two years ago, says Jack would be ‘absolutely devastated’ if the home was to close.

The 77 year-old said: “Jack worked for the council as a foreman at Rossington Sewage works for over 25 years. He chose a council care home because he’d worked for them for nearly all of his working life and thought he would be looked after.”

“I’ve looked around a lot of private care homes, and none of them are as good as Gattison House. He loves it there.”

“When he decided to go there we thought he would be safe. Before that he was having seizures when the carers weren’t there. One night he slept on the living room floor because he collapsed after the carers had gone and couldn’t move to get to the phone. We thought our worries were over.”

Mick, of Kestel Drive in Rossington, is also a member of the Caregate action group, that have collected over 25,000 signatures on a petition against the care home closures since the proposals were first announced earlier this year.

But in a new report, based on a consultation with residents and their relatives, the local authority’s Adults and Communities department has this week recommended that the Council should close the seven residential care homes

The report details the findings of the consultation process, which has been ongoing since January, and looks at a number of factors including modernisation, demand and the views and needs of residents.

Speaking about the report and the recommendations the Assistant Director of Adult Social Care, Pat Higgs, said: “The officers have come to this conclusion based around several aspects.”

“The main thing is the modernisation of adult social care and around the needs to ensure we are giving people the choice to stay at home for longer. We need to ensure that people have more control over how they can access services more locally and remain independent.”

“We do recognise that for some people the risk to their own health and safety means that they have to consider residential care as the ultimate option and for where their care needs will be met. And in order to do that we need to ensure that the correct quality and provisions are available.

“It’s about the correct mix of beds in the borough and its about quality and the way that the council ensures that the quality is maintained and improves.”

Mr Higgs added that no final decision has been made.

Caregate campaigner Dave Morgan 51, of Stone Cross Drive in Sprotborough, has dubbed the council’s intention to modernise its adult services a ‘myth’.

He added: “It is a notion based on privatisation, the principle of ‘profit before care’, and a denial of responsibility.”

“It is an unconvincing, uninspiring and potentially life-threatening undertaking. In terms of improving care, it is a myth.”


- There are a total of 132 residents currently cared for in the seven council run care homes at Gattison House in Rossington, Oldfield House in Stainforth, Owston View in Skellow, Rose House in Armthorpe, Rowena House in Conisbrough, Stenson Court in Balby and Plantation View in Cantley.

- They will undergo a ‘phased closure’ if the Mayor and Cabinet opt to axe the seven residential homes.

- The care home closures were initially proposed as part of Mayor Jones’ three year budget, through which the local authority needs to save £109million.

- The final decision on the fate of the care homes is set to be made at a cabinet meeting on June 25