A call by Labour and LibDem councillors on South Gloucestershire Council to think again on plans to provide hundreds more home care hours for the elderly has been branded ‘bizarre’ by the authority’s Conservative Cabinet Member for Community Care and Housing.
It follows a request by Labour and LibDem councillors for the Conservative-run authority to re-consult on using an external partner – either in the community, voluntary or commercial sector – to build and run 2 new ‘next generation’ residential care homes, following a special ‘call-in’ meeting of its Community Care & Housing Select Committee.
It has been calculated that around 500 extra home care hours a week will be generated if the council were to work with a partner to provide the new homes in Yate and Kingswood in comparison to the council building and running them itself.
And through a contractual arrangement with any partner, the council would still control costs and quality of care and around 30 per cent of the local care market.
The council’s plans to transform older people’s services have already got the backing of local charities and older people’s groups.
And 90 per cent of the unprecedented number of respondents who took part in last year’s extensive council consultation preferred ‘Option 4’ – which set out plans to help people stay in their own homes for longer, as well as build new 21st century care facilities and close the council’s 8 ageing and substandard care homes.
Last year, 45 elderly residents had to move out of these ageing homes because modern care and equipment could not be provided in the homes’ small rooms.
Option 4 – which is now being implemented – clearly identified the possibility of working with a partner if it was found to be advantageous – similar to council’s approach to providing three extra care developments in Yate, Kingswood and Downend where it is already working successfully with not-for-profit housing associations.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Matthew Riddle, Conservative Cabinet Member for Community Care and Housing, said:
“Following last year’s hugely successful council consultation, the option favoured by 90 per cent of respondents clearly identified the possibility of working with an external partner to provide new care homes if it was found to be advantageous – and we can now show just how advantageous.
Extending the partnership approach that we are already taking with our three new extra care developments to the two new state-of-the-art residential care homes will allow us to be consistent with our consultation, maintain a significant presence in the local care market, and fund 500 more home care hours a week, which will allow many more older residents to stay in their own homes for longer.
When you consider that the consistent message that older people have given us is that they want to be cared for in their own homes and not in residential care, this Labour-LibDem request for further consultation on our plans for more home care is incredibly bizarre.
It really beggars belief that Labour and LibDem councillors want the council to again ask residents something they have already told us in huge numbers – but out of respect for the Select Committee, it is something I will look at.”
Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council