Wednesday, 2 June 2010

County Council Care Home Consultation Will Come This Autumn

The Lincolnshire Echo today reports on plans for the future of eight county council-owned care homes which will come forward this autumn and the small protest on the steps of County Hall yesterday.

The Executive at Lincolnshire County Council is understood to have voted in favour of moving forward the emerging 'vision' - shaping care in the 21st century - to develop care facilities for older people.

Conservative councillors believe that replacing respite and day care centres with more modern accommodation, to tackle the effects of ageing populations, would benefit Lincolnshire residents, although this could see care homes privatised.

Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Cllr. Martin Hill OBE, Conservative (Folkingham Rural Division), is reported to have said that details on delivering improved service would come in 'late autumn'.
"This is a long-running saga. It's one thing to agree a vision and another to agree what will happen at a practical level. It's a difficult journey but one we must undertake and not shy away from."
Cllr. Mrs. Marianne Overton
Leader of the Opposition on Lincolnshire County Council, Cllr. Marianne Overton, Lincolnshire Independents (Branston & Navenby Division), commented:
"The current homes work really well and do a fantastic job, focused on getting people better and able to turn the key in their own front door. We need more of these facilities, not less."
Complete details on the proposals will emerge when a business plan has been drawn up and no decision has been made on whether the eight care homes will remain open or close.

Campaigners vowed yesterday, to continue fighting to keep all affected buildings open, including Linelands in Nettleham, Bonner House in Sleaford and Park View in Lincoln.

Protesters with placards lined the steps of the County Council's Offices, in Newland, Lincoln, yesterday campaigning under the slogan 'care not profit'.

Protesters at County Hall.
Mrs. Sylvia Laws, whose sister had benefited from help at Bonner House is reported to have said:
"We have a wonderful home in Sleaford. The carers are a wonderful bunch of people."
North Kesteven Seniors Chairman Mrs. Liz Peto said the group's seventy members were 'unanimous' in opposition.

No comments were made by the Liberal Democrat Group on the matter, despite Cllr. Ray Sellars, Liberal Democrat (Nettleham & Saxilby Division), taking a visible, if sometimes egregious, stance on this matter.

The County Council's Labour Group intends to 'call in' the decision. This means the executive's decision could be debated on Thursday, 17th June 2010, at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting.

Cllr. Robert Parker
Labour Group Leader, Cllr. Robert Parker, Labour (Lincoln West) said:
"We want to see improved services, but ones that remain under the control of the council with care provided by council staff committed to giving quality care.

"We want to see the Conservative council put care before profit for private sector companies. We will be challenging these proposals by calling in the decision."
Lincolnshire's Unison Branch Secretary Mr. John Sharman said the council had missed a chance to include the public sector in the care plan, and commented that:
"The fight to save our homes has not been lost. The fight goes on."

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