It is very welcome news that the Patey Day Centre has won a reprieve for the coming year.
Since the previous administration of Portsmouth City Council announced late last year that it was to close the centre as part of a bid to save £10m from its budget, there has been a concerted campaign to save it.
While the Cosham centre’s supporters have justifiably reacted positively to the news, they cannot afford to rest on their laurels – Edinburgh House, which it is part of, is being demolished to make way for a new care home.
As anyone who has had any dealings with family or friends afflicted with dementia will know, familiarity and routine are a vital part of the treatment plan.
This is why the council needs to come up with a satisfactory long-term plan for the treatment of dementia patients.
The Lib Dems had intended to move the centre’s 31 users to the Royal Albert Day Centre in Landport.
If and how the Royal Albert figures into the Tories’ plans is not yet known.
While we do not criticise the Royal Albert, it has been described as larger and less personal than the Patey.
And it is also at the opposite end of the city from many of the Patey’s users.
Reversing the unpopular decisions of a previous administration after gaining power through a successful election is a time-honoured way of scoring political points.
We can only hope that there is more substance to this latest new policy – following on from the U-turn on public toilets – than mere politicking.
This is, after all, an issue that could affect any one of us.
With Clinical Commissioning Group figures suggesting that there are more than 2,000 people in Portsmouth living with dementia of some kind, providing care for sufferers is not a problem that is going to solve itself.
We warned in a previous leader column about the danger of false economies in closing the Patey Centre. Those words need to be heeded for the future of dementia care now more than ever.