IT would be “ludicrous” to close the life-changing Rotherham Institute for Obesity (RIO), the health centre boss insisted as the clock ticked down towards a decision day on its future funding.
Dr Matt Capehorn, clinical manager at the centre, said staff and clients at the centre had been left in limbo after council bosses delayed a decision on whether to cut its funding by three months.
RIO is among several council-funded health projects and facilities due to find out its fate this month, with councillors expected to discuss the issue at their full council meeting next week.
Dr Capehorn said: “Everybody is trying to stay upbeat because it would be ludicrous to cut our funding as we save the system so much money with the work we do.
“The clients are coming and asking us about it and they are saying they hope the funding doesn’t get cut but they know there’s nothing they can do to influence it.”
The Advertiser is calling for RIO to be saved from threatened closure by ensuring it is given the necessary funding as part of our Fighting Fit campaign.
But Dr Capehorn said staff at the Doncaster Gate facility had been frantically trying to find out when a decision will be announced.
He said: “We are just desperate to know what’s happening.
“We’ve had nothing else from the council — they just keep us in the dark and if we don’t chase them, they don’t come to us with anything.
“We’ve had one member of staff who’s announced they’re leaving — whether that’s because of the low morale and they think their job is at risk or they’re doing it for personal development we will never know but morale is definitely low.”
Dr Capehorn said the possibilities for the Doncaster Gate facility include terminating its weight management contracts from July, reducing funding by up to 40 per cent or no change at all.
A spokeswoman for Rotherham Borough Council said councillors would discuss the authority’s budget at next Wednesday’s Town Hall council meeting and providers of public health services, including RIO, would be notified of funding decision this month.
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