Overhaul of Suffolk care homes system is approved
16:23 16 October 2012
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Care homes owned by Suffolk County Council are to be transferred to private operator Care UK after senior council leaders approved the move today.
The council’s cabinet voted in favour of 16 residential homes and eight community wellbeing centres being transferred to Care UK, and over the next four years they will either be redeveloped or closed.
By the end of 2016, Care UK will run 10 larger homes across the county after a £60 million investment.
Although the number of homes will fall, the number of beds in the county will increase from 526 to 680.
The Conservative cabinet backed the move unanimously after a two-hour debate at West Suffolk House in Bury St Edmunds.
The £60m investment is set to change the care home system in the Beccles, Lowestoft, Eye, Mildenhall and Bury areas.
Care homes at Blyford Court and Stradbroke Court, Lowestoft, will replaced by a residential home and wellbeing centre at the site of Roman Hill Primary School in Lowestoft, scheduled to open in June 2014.
The Dell care home in Beccles will also close and move to the new Roman Hill home, while in Eye Paddock House will also replaced at an as yet undecided location, with the new home opening in September 2014.
In Mildenhall, Wamil Court will be replaced by a new care home at the former Great Heath Primary School in St John’s Close, opening in April 2014, while in Bury St Edmunds Glastonbury Court will be replaced by February 2016. The work is being carried out because many of the care homes were built in the 1960s when care needs were much different.
Colin Noble, cabinet member for health and adult care, said: “I believe the decision taken today will provide surroundings and facilities that will meet peoples care needs both now and way into the future.
“We have carried out a rigorous process over 15 months to make sure that we got the best deal for the older and vulnerable people in Suffolk.
“Care UK has a proven track record of delivering high quality care in state-of-the-art facilities – this is what I want for Suffolk.
“By transferring our care homes and wellbeing centres to Care UK we will attract a significant amount of investment that otherwise would simply not be available.
“The most vulnerable in society deserve the very best we can provide them – this deal represents that.
“I fully appreciate that change is unsettling for our residents and we will work hard with them and their relatives to ensure they continue to have their care needs fully met.
“Each of our residents and customers attending a wellbeing centre will be allocated a social care worker to support them through the changes.”
The purpose-built homes will have bigger rooms with en suite facilities and have access to safe outside garden spaces.
The number of older people in Suffolk aged 75 and over is due to increase by 85pc by 2030 and the number of older people with dementia is expected to increase by 100pc.
All permanent members of staff will transfer to Care UK on their current terms and conditions.