The next meeting of the Integration Joint Board is on Friday 23rd of March. This meeting will most likely be deciding on the future of Parkdale. The following are some observations and personal opinions of the editor based on the publicly available copy of the Review of Residential Care by the Chief Officer. Items in italics are copied directly from the report.
On 1 July 2015, the Council’s Transformation Program was approved by Perth and Kinross Council. As part of this, a number of transformation reviews were agreed across Adult SocialWork and Social Care services, including: Review of Older People’s Services.
The Review of Older People’s Services included the review of two of the Council’s residential care homes with the aim of making £696,000 savings by 1 April 2018.
This programme of transformation was delegated to the Integrated Joint Board upon its establishment in April 2016. In September 2017 (report no. G/17/164), the IJB instructed that an option appraisal, with the required consultation and engagement with key stakeholders be completed in respect of four options. The Review of Residential Care by the Chief Officer is dated January 2018.
Just to clarify in a simpler way, this programme was approved in July 2015 to make savings by 1 April 2018. It was delegated to the Integration Joint Board in April 2016 where it languished until September 2017 when eventually a report was instructed. This report became available in January 2018 – Barely 2 months before the savings are supposed to be made. That is a ridiculous delay and should not be acceptable when the care of some of our most vulnerable is at stake.
It seems there are principles involved in doing anything new, at least that’s what I get from this –
In line with the principles set out in the IJB’s Strategic Commissioning Plan, the benefits of implementing any new delivery model must:
Enable people to live at home longer by shifting the balance of care
Support sustainability of the external residential care provider market place by optimising rates of occupancy.
Evidence collaborative work between statutory services and community providers to deliver alternatives to institutional care.
Reduce costs associated with low occupancy in Local Authority care homes.
It looks to me like these principals mean any proposals put forward have to make sure that private care homes stay as full as possible and community providers are to be used to provide at home care.
A Community Provider is most often a third sector or not for profit care provider. Unfortunately, as the IJB seems to be hurtling towards this method of alternative care, the Coalition of Community Care Providers has a warning on their website for the future of social care in Scotland, stating
“As pressure on social care budgets grows here is growing evidence that our current competitive quasi- market approach isn’t working for anyone- providers, local authorities or supported people.”
Why then is this being pushed as something that must be done? This way of doing things isn’t working, why is it being pushed forward? Some community providers are staffed by volunteers, what happens when the volunteers run out? As retirement age increases the number of people able to volunteer will surely reduce?
The report also insists on separating residential and nursing care provision. There is no legal difference between residential homes and nursing homes according to the Care Inspectorate. If you don’t split them then the number of places required continues to increase.
Finally, the fact that it was noted on the report that a care provider had informed the consultation that they would be building a new home to be open to service users in 2019. This seems to make it acceptable for capacity to be limited until this provider has built their new home.
A care provider has informed us that they are building a care home in Perth City with residential and nursing beds. The provider is expecting this facility to be openfor service users in 2019.This means that although capacity in Perth City is currently more limited than other localities this will be alleviated by 2019.
Has this been guaranteed, has planning permission been granted? Maybe it was a proposal in 2015 when this all started, is it still a proposal in 2018?
Why are private profit making companies becoming the go to provider for our local authority? If a private company can make a care home profitable why would our local authority cost themselves money to lose such an asset?
There is so much more in this report however, I shall wait until the agenda and documents become available for the meeting on Friday before publishing more.