Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Reprieve for Local Residential Care Home

Lincolnshire County Council has revealed more details on its proposals to improve respite and day care centres across Lincolnshire with brand-new, state-of-the-art facilities.

Closing five council-owned care homes is expected to save taxpayers one million nine hundred thousand pounds a year whilst those opposed to the scheme claim it to be "another nail in the coffin".

The proposal recommends the authority's homes in Lincoln, Gainsborough, Boston, Spalding and Louth should be closed. With the potential for up to two hundred and thirty jobs losses. But the remaining three facilities in Nettleham, Sleaford and Grantham are expected to see changes if the plan is approved next month.

Linelands, in Nettleham provides twenty-seven beds, including fifteen for intermediate care and fifty-six day care places per week. Under the plans, the number of beds remains the same, but the number of day care places drops to forty-five.

Protests against the changes have been taking place throughout the year. Mrs. Elaine Smith, who cares full-time for her mother, Mrs. Lilian Smithson, and has used both Linelands and Bonner House in Sleaford for planned respite care is reported in the Lincolnshire Echo as saying:
"We made it clear that we were not just fighting to keep Linelands open, but all of the eight care homes.

"It does not make good business sense to have spare beds available for respite.

"The vast majority of people who go to these homes have a carer and it’s another nail in the coffin for carers who save the Government millions and millions of pounds a year. It's appalling."
The Conservative-controlled authority says it costs nearly one-thousand pounds per week for a bed in its care homes. This would decrease to five hundred per week for a bed under a new system run by private and charitable companies.

The paper reports that the authority insists changes are required with the introduction of personal budgets, which provide people with more choice by allowing them to buy the care they want, rather than a council choosing where they go.

The county council intends that any monies raised from selling buildings would be reinvested in providing better dementia care services.

Leader of the Council, Cllr. Martin Hill OBE, Conservative (Folkingham Rural Division) is reported to have commented:
"It's not about saving money, it's about providing a much better service and much more dementia services."
The local Branch Secretary of Unison, Mr. John Sharman, said:
"We can see our campaign has saved three of the homes and we would say this is a partial victory."
Nettleham Parish Councillor, Giles McNeill, said:
"Local residents will be pleased that pressure from a number of sources, including Nettleham Parish Council, has potentially secured the future of Linelands. The County Council face difficult decisions in this area and the whole basis of financial planning for the authority must be being examined."

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