Support escalates for campaign to save John Aird House

Care facility threatened with closure under Council plans for the elderly

Opposition to the closure of John Aird House is gathering far reaching support. The home in situated in Green Dragon Lane, Brentford, houses 19 elderly residents whose health is feared for should they have to be moved.

This week saw the Council�s decision the subject of Hounslow's Scrutiny and Overview Committee, where yet again Councillors were met by sizeable and vocal opposition by protestors.

Yvonne Hossack, a campaigning lawyer who founded Elderly People in Crisis (EPIC) has taken on the cause. However, she expressed her fury at not being allowed to speak on behalf of the families of residents at the meeting citing a clause in the Human Rights Act. She rationalized that the council is elected by local people to represent them and that it is the council�s duty to seek all the information available.

However, in vindication of the decision not to allow Ms Hossack to speak, Cllr Lamey, the Committee�s Chairperson stated that it was an gathering session and the issue is by no means finished. She expressed her wish that all councillors be able to ask all the questions they need.
Accusations of �not considering implications and the impact on the elderly resident�s health� were made by members of the council against the Executive Committee. Also a number of members queried the logic of the closure given that it had been widely accepted that John Aird House met the basic targets of the National Care Standards.

In defence of the Executive�s decision, Councillor Lal said the judgment had been made given the information available at the time and that the closure was part of a move by the council to accommodate the changing needs of the elderly within the borough. He insisted the closure was not about making cuts or saving money.'

Donal MacIntyre of BBC investigation fame has been attending meetings for a planned documentary later this year. A spokesperson for the show explained that �John Aird House is a prime example of the issue of home closures which seem to be very prevalent. We want to know why and raise awareness of this issue.''

Local MP Ann Keen said, "I am pleased that the appropriate bodies are continuing to talk as this is a serious and distressing issue, however at the same time we must continue to drive up standards for our older residents. I am confident that the democratic process has been followed and that the council Executive will continue the dialogue with the residents and relatives to find a satisfactory outcome.�

April 29, 2003