The Tories and care homes

Still more news of ‘service reconfigurations’ from Warwickshire County Council. Not fire stations (that’s for another post), but care homes for the elderly.

On Tuesday, the Coventry Telegraph reported Ten care homes to be axed in Warwickshire? which told us that John Bolton, the interim director of Adult Services at Warks CC, had been in charge of similar plans in Coventry in recent years. The closures could save up to £4 million a year, and the issue has been brought up because of the impending cuts in central government funding.

On Wednesday, the Telegraph had an updated story – The future of 10 Warwickshire care homes could be in jeopardy – which includes more information about the possible impact. There are 240 residents in the ten homes, plus another 40 people who use the same buildings as respite. The closures would be phased over ‘several years’, and the idea is to replace the service with Extra Care Housing (ECH) places.

ECH is a lot cheaper, and while it does give the more active elderly residents more independence, it is not always appropriate for everyone, at least that’s what the Chief Executive of Age Concern said.

And yesterday (Thursday), there was a further report on the Telegraph’s website – People have ‘nothing to fear over care home closures’ says council chief which tells us that the new ECH places would be provided by ‘independent organisations’ (for that we can read private companies in it for profit).

The local NHS say that some people have been put into the existing homes as needing nursing care when they don’t actually, they are just not able to go home, and point to a lack of options. But these plans seem to be replacing one single option (care homes with nursing) with another (extra care).

So, over the week the picture is building up. Ten care homes will be closed. They will be replaced by private residential ‘extra care’ homes that have double the capacity, but if West Sussex is anything to go by, a fair number of the places will be reserved for private paying customers rather than people paid for by the County Council.

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