Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Closure Sounds Sensible?

Conservative Home zeros in on a report from the BBC that Durham County Council plans to close seven of its 12 care homes as 'more people are choosing to remain at home rather than opt for costly council care'.

And Conservative Home considers "So the closure sounds eminently sensible"?

Let us go back in time. The Supporting People programme went live in April 2003. From that date the programme took over responsibility from the Housing Benefit system for paying the emergency alarm service costs and staff support received by older people in sheltered housing if they were on low incomes.
Later the government selected a small number of Supporting People partnerships to be Value Improvement Pilots (which were no more than a method to ascertain how 'costs' could be cut) for different areas of services. Durham was chosen as the pilot for older people's services.

Fast forward to 2008 and Oxfordshire County Council went to visit the Durham Supporting People to team to discuss what they had done; the visiting team comprising two from Supporting People, two from sheltered housing providers, one from Oxford City council and one from the County Council's Telecare service.

Following the visit to Durham two surveys were drawn up in partnership with support providers to consult with older people about the service they receive, to determine what was important to them in any new service provided. As part of this process one of the questions to be answered ws the nature and frequencyu of the visits. From a document downloaded from the website of Oxfordshire County Council entitled 'Oxfordshire Supporting People - Older People's Support Worker Focus Groups (authored by Alison Fishpool - Project Manager and Liz Maughn - BPR Practitioner) it is stated that "The next question to be answered was the nature and frequency of the visits. It was decided not to bombard the older people with more questions but to ask the Scheme Managers/Wardens/Support Workers, who support the older people, what they thought."

Sixteen scheme managers/wardens/support workers took part in the focus groups and came from Banbury Homes Housing Association, Charter Community Housing, Cottsway Housing Association, Oxford Citizens Housing Association, Oxford City Council and St Luke's Housing Society. Not one of those RSLs employ resident or full day-time wardens which obviously resulted in the 'findings' being 'skewed' and which also did not follow the 'consultation' process properly. It also means that the entire process is flawed.

Reasons why people don't wish to enter care homes is that they do not want to be forced to sell their homes, prefering to pass on that equity to their families. People do not wish to enter sheltered housing as there is no warden in permanent attendance.

What this shows is that local authorities are complicit in the deception that these 'changes' are for reasons of providing better care when it is, in fact, driven by 'cost-cutting' motives; a policy dictated by central government.

It also shows, unfortunately, a lack of research - and sloppy journalism - by the BBC together with a total lack of knowledge on the part of the Conservative Party that they could even begin to believe that the move by Durham sounds eminently sensible!


martin said...

just how long are we going to accept what is happening. they are murdering our/my older citizens. educating our young people against there parents , unemploying the workingclass, taxing the life out of the middle classes and sending the youth to war.and all the time we are told by media and now pertinent bloggers that yes this is what is happening in detail link to this. but do you know what thers sod all you can do about it .

Anonymous said...

Quite right WfW. But it's been a long time since the BBC had its act together when it comes to research. As for the Conservatives, being conservative and a former member of the party, my disappointment with them under Cameron deepens ever further.