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Tuesday 28 November 2017

Council set to boost flexibility and impact of adult social care services

Cheshire East Council is set to improve the way it delivers adult social care.

Cheshire East Council is increasing spending significantly in adult social care – investing £10.9m in 2018/19. However, the council faces a significant financial challenge – via reductions in government grants, increased demand for care services and rising costs.

The aim is to boost the quality, capacity, flexibility, choice, value for money and the positive impact on the lives of people supported by these services – to deliver the right support, in the right place, at the right time.

The cabinet is due to consider proposals to recommission care at home, residential care and respite care when it meets on December 5. This is usual local authority practice.

Respite care

A review of respite care provision, with wide stakeholder consultation, is also proposed, to identify ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness and reduce low occupancy of block-booked beds. 

Councillor Janet Clowes, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for adult social care and integration, said: “The current offer of respite care was intended to enable carers to access respite in a variety of geographical locations.

“However, there are issues with low occupancy and, as the system operates on block provision (where providers get paid a block amount of money even if the beds are not occupied) it means that some of the beds are remaining unoccupied.

“There is, therefore, a need to review the current provision, to ensure it delivers real choice, value for money and the best outcomes for respite care users. Subject to consultation, some beds are proposed to be ‘block purchased’ to be available all year round to continue to provide geographical coverage across the borough – together with additional beds purchased as and when necessary to meet demand and in the appropriate location.

“Carers have told us that they want an alternative respite offer to the bed-based services that are currently available. The council is now carrying out a review and consulting with carers and other stakeholders about how the alternative respite provision should be delivered, in order to more effectively and efficiently provide the right support, in the right place, at the right time.

“Therefore, as part of a review of respite provision, we are looking at different models of respite support to ensure greater choice and flexibility for service users – such as short breaks and supported living, home-based services, Shared Lives support and respite in an extra-care housing setting. The new provision would begin in October 2018.”

Care at home

The council is proposing to change the way it commissions care at home (domiciliary care) for our local residents. This service will be for adults with less complex care and support needs residing in Cheshire East.

There is a need to transform the care and support offer to ensure Cheshire has greater capacity and flexibility – and an improved range of services that deliver value for money for our residents.  The council is working with our local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to explore options to jointly commission care and support services delivered to residents in their home. 

Cllr Liz Wardlaw, cabinet member for health, said: “With our partners, we need to ensure that health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate high-quality care and that, as partners, we encourage care services to improve their care and support.

“We face an ageing population in Cheshire East and the borough needs to increase the capacity and capability of care services to enable people to remain living at home longer, reduce the need for a move to a care home and provide timely and appropriate care.”

Residential care

Cheshire East also proposes to change the way it commissions residential care for residents who receive financial support for their care from the authority. Under the proposed new system, providers of residential homes would be asked to sign up to a ‘framework’, which would ensure they deliver the highest possible quality, care and support.

Residents who receive financial support for their care will be placed in care homes that meet the quality standards required by the authority. Residents who are already placed in care homes will not be expected to move.

Cllr Clowes said: “Cheshire East Council has a duty under the Care Act 2014 to promote the efficient and effective operation and sustainability of the care market for the borough.”

The council is working with South Cheshire and Eastern Cheshire CCGs to ensure the seamless provision of care and support during the transition to new provision which, if agreed, would take place in 2018.

● If you require further information about care at home contact the council’s Danielle Stuart 01625 374207. For accommodation with care, contact Jonathon Evans on 01270 686403. For information about the review of respite care, contact Jane Stanley-McCrave on 01270 375119.

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