Northamptonshire County Council is to press ahead with plans to end its contract with a popular day care centre in Northampton, despite "hundreds" signing a petition against it and heartfelt pleas from the relatives of patients.
Back in August, Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) proposed terminating its contract with the Olympus Care-run Drayton Centre in Kingsthorpe and Stephenson's Court in Kilsby in a move to save £400,000 a year.
But relatives of Drayton Centre patients mounted a campaign against the move, claiming the alternative day centre being offered at the Shaw Healthcare-run Turn Furlong facility in Rookery Lane, would not be a like-for-like replacement.
However, this week the county council's cabinet voted to press on with the plans, despite nearly an hour of heartfelt speeches from members of the public at the meeting.
Cabinet member for adult social care, Councillor Bill Parker, said the Drayton Centre was only 54 per cent occupied and assured worried residents the same care would be offered at Turn Furlong.
The county council has a long-running private finance initiative with Shaw Healthcare, which has a further 25 years to run. While Turn Furlong is a "Good" rated specialist care facility, it does not specialise in dementia and Alzheimer's like the Drayton Centre.
Paul Crofts of Save Northants Services, said: "People are really worried about the quality of care on offer at Turn Furlong. It's not an option with any comparable sense with the services at the Drayton Centre.
Wayne Keown, whose dad Brian attends the Drayton Centre, said: "We just don't know how we will cope with the loss of this unique facility."
Dave Green, also of Save Northants Services, brought with him a petition containing "hundreds of names," against the move.
But the cabinet voted in favour of proceeding with ceasing the contract with Olympus Care for both day care facilities. They will remain open, but local patients will not be able to receive a county council subsidy if they attend there.
At the meeting, leader of the county council, Councillor Heather Smith (Con, Oundle) was notified that Shaw Healthcare, had become "extremely concerned " about damage to their reputation as a result of what was said at the meeting.
"They want to work with us," she said. "To provide the quality of service for all of you."