Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet has today backed proposals to redirect respite care into the independent sector and deliver services more locally.
A report put before councillors had recommended that current care arrangements at Hollins View and Lincoln House be procured instead via the independent sector to help deliver more personalised care and support for people.
Both sites offer the Borough’s estimated 40,000 carers a well-deserved break from caring for people with conditions such as dementia.
A full consultation exercise was undertaken with carers and their families and many highlighted that greater choice was needed about where they received their help.
The report, backed in a unanimous vote by Cabinet today (Tuesday), highlights that the Council is currently out of step, as 90 per cent of respite care provision in neighbouring local authorities across the North West is in the independent sector.
Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council said the decision taken by Cabinet would improve respite care provision because local people would be able to access beds and support in their local community area.
Cllr Jones said: “This is the best solution and right thing to do as it is about putting residents first and local first – and local is best.
“We will guarantee local first care for people accessing respite care. Some campaigners appear obsessed with brick and mortar – but I care about the people and providing the right support and care in the right place and at the right time.
“The majority of service users accessing Cheshire East respite service are already using independent sector providers, either exclusively (56 per cent) or in combination with a stay in Council facilities (10 per cent). We will now be able to offer better value and a better range of respite for carers.”
The decision will mean the Council can deliver substantially better value for money for local taxpayers – as it can secure quality residential respite care in the independent sector at an average of 48 per cent less than the cost of in-house provision.
Moreover, the projected growth in demand cannot be met by in-house respite provision. More than sufficient capacity is available within the private sector, which currently (17/6/15) has 202 vacancies.
Currently just seven people are accessing respite care at Hollins View and nine at Lincoln House.
Moreover, 70 per cent of bed nights in Hollins View and 54 per cent of bed nights in Lincoln House are for stays of 29 or more consecutive nights which are not respite care.
The Council intends to retain both Hollins View and Lincoln House sites for use to deliver other local services to local residents.
The Council remains committed to putting the interest of residents first and has developed a Carers’ Strategy in conjunction with health partners, which details the collective commitment to carers and helping ensure their access to information, advice and support.
Hollins View and Lincoln House are currently commissioned to provide the Council’s in-house residential care and the report recommended that widening out the service to the independent sector will also help residents in our rural communities, who may need the service.
Both sites were the subject of a high-profile Cabinet meeting in December 2014 when Cabinet agreed to continue respite services until December 2015.
The report back then recommended closure because ‘residential respite support in the independent sector would be at a lower cost than in-house provision’.
The total cost of in-house provision of respite care is £3.13m.
Lincoln House provides 14.19 per cent of Cheshire East’s total respite care, while Hollins View provides just 13.18 per cent of the total.
Across the North West region there is a shift away from in-house provision of adult social care.
Currently, none of Tameside, Wirral, Trafford, Manchester, Knowsley, Stoke-on-Trent, Stockport, Shropshire or Liverpool borough authorities offers any in-house respite care provision.
Across 19 local authorities surveyed in the North West the average is for 90 per cent external provision of all adult social care and 10 per cent internal provision.
One authority, Warrington, is in the process of outsourcing their remaining Council-operated homes to a social enterprise. While Stockport has 100 per cent external provision of adult social care.