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Along the southern shore of the United Kingdom, in the historic maritime town of Portsmouth, the Patey Day Centre has proudly served Alzheimer’s and dementia patients since its founding over twenty years ago. During a time when Alzheimer’s care often takes a back seat to other high-profile diseases, the Patey Centre’s services provide an invaluable resource for patients and caregivers alike in the city’s northern district of Cosham.
Unfortunately, the City Council recently put the Centre’s celebrated services on the budgetary chopping block, a short-sighted move that would sacrifice quality care for temporary fiscal relief.
According to the City Council’s own Dementia Action Plan, they should be expanding services to accommodate their growing need — not shrinking them. Further, the Council should focus on preserving the intimate care and much-needed familiarity of places like Patey Centre. The nearest comparable service would only add a confusing and unfamiliar cross-town commute.
The Centre’s fate stands as a symbol of common budgetary compromises, local and state governments sacrificing Alzheimer’s research and relief for short-term cost-cutting tactics that ignore the long-term economic impact of the disease. Losing Patey without a suitable replacement would only provide temporary budget relief at the cost of permanent damage to the patients, their families, and progress in the struggle against Alzheimer’s disease.
Join the thousands of residents who are rallying to defend the critical day center. Show your support for the Patey Centre as well as Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers everywhere — sign below!
Dear Cllr. Lynne Stagg, Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, and Mr. Robert Watt, Head of Adult Social Care:
I find the Portsmouth City Council’s recent decision to close the Patey Day Centre without first identifying a suitable replacement to be disheartening. Any city government is obligated to balance the desires of constituents with the realities of governance. The currently proposed plan, however, would sacrifice quality services for dementia patients and caregivers for temporary fiscal relief.
The Council Officer’s Response (31 January 2014) justifies this move by citing a decline in “current usage” of such facilities. Yet the council’s own Dementia Action Plan for 2013/2014 (version 9 – 02/02/14) anticipates a 30% increase in diagnoses in the next year alone.
The same document, meanwhile, offers ambitious promises to make Portsmouth “a dementia friendly city” where people “feel included in our local communities.” Yet the lack of a similar service in Cosham would force residents to scramble in a cross-town commute in a race for less space at the Royal Albert Centre. This undermines the desire for a “community based service provision” outlined in the plan.
Saving public funds is an admirable goal, but not when the long-term social costs outweigh the temporary fiscal relief. In light of the growing prevalence of Alzheimer’s as well as the Council’s own recommendations, please reconsider your approach to this delicate matter. Your decision not only will benefit the people of Portsmouth but also will provide a model for other local governments to follow, ensuring quality care elsewhere.