Simon Galton

Liberal Democrat County & District Councillor Learn more

Care Homes for the Elderly: Lib Dem response to Conservatives

by simongalton on 16 December, 2009

I have decided to post a copy of what my fellow County Councillor Alan Bailey sent to Cabinet yesterday. The ongoing problems that the Conservatives are experiecneing in trying to sell these care homes is starting to look silly.

SUPPORTED ACCOMMODATION FOR OLDER PEOPLE IN LEICESTERSHIRE 

I note that at their meeting on Tuesday15th December, the Cabinet are to consider a report from the Director of Adult Social Care and Health entitled “Supported Accommodation for Older People in Leicestershire”. I would be grateful if copies of this letter could be shown to the Cabinet Members so that my comments, below, can be considered before they take their decision on this item.

 

My comments are as follows:-

I have real concerns about the recommendation to transfer nine of the Council’s remaining in-house Elderly Persons Homes (EPHs) and associated day care services, with the option of closing one or more of the homes should  there be “not sufficient market interest” or  if “a transfer cannot be concluded following a full tender process”.

 

My concerns include the following:-

1)     It is a high risk strategy to offer TEN care homes for transfer/sale when it has recently proved impossible to transfer ‘only’ SIX homes. The paper to cabinet admits that “in the current economic climate there remains a risk of market uncertainty and potential for a transfer not to be completed” and that “the fact that other authorities in the East Midlands are also putting their homes on the market within a similar time scale increases the risk.

2)     Since March, 2007, this will be the third attempt to sell or transfer some, or most, of the remaining in-house care homes. The previous two failed, the most recent in June, 2009 “because of the impact of the prevailing and unprecedented economic climate.” The economic climate is no better now that it was six months ago.

3)     Playing High Risk Strategies with the homes of elderly people is wrong, especially when the stated aim of the process is to make savings.

4)     I am concerned that having gone through almost three years of uncertainty our elderly care homes residents are once again having the future of their homes put in doubt.

5)     Just this week a LGiU policy briefing quoted the Care Quality Commission Quality of Care reports 2008-09 as stating that “Council owned …(residential and domiciliary care) ….. services perform best, and private sector services least well.” It also says:- “It is interesting to note that council owned services perform best – out-sourcing is not necessarily always the best solution.”

6)     Council run homes are popular with residents, their families and staff. The Councils’ own consultation results prove this.

7)     Although about 90% of the County Council’s residents in residential care are already in independent care homes we believe that the remaining council run homes, few though they are, offer an element of choice.

8 )     These drastic proposals regarding the homes for elderly people are being made simply for the reasons of finance. Greater weight should be given to the wishes of the residents.

I believe that we should be exploring further the opportunities for in-house savings. In the Director’s paper in June, 2009, it was reported that “during the course of the discussions with the consortium a number of more efficient working practices have been identified which, when fully implemented across the 10 in-house homes will make a contribution to achieving this” (required savings).  Have these been fully implemented?

Yours sincerely

Alan Bailey CC

Liberal Democrat Spokesman, Adult Social Care & Health

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