Home care for elderly to be privatised

Plans to privatise home care support for thousands of elderly people in Norfolk look set to go ahead following a meeting which was held behind closed doors yesterday.

Plans to privatise home care support for thousands of elderly people in Norfolk look set to go ahead following a meeting which was held behind closed doors yesterday.

The proposals from Norfolk County Council would see about 900 staff, or 780 full-time equivalent carers, who currently visit people to offer a range of help, including feeding, bathing dressing and lifting, being affected.

Last night, Harold Bodmer, the council's director of adult social services, said: "In November, councillors agreed we should move to a new way of providing home support that offers an intensive assessment and reablement service running alongside a continuing support service. This model is widely used by other authorities and found to be very effective."

The adult social services review panel yesterday endorsed the preferred option which would see the council providing the intensive assessment and reablement service and the independ-ent sector running a continuing support service.

The council's cabinet will be asked to make a final decision in April.

Mr Bodmer said: "We believe this solution enables us to improve the service and make the best use of resources.

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"We are also proposing any changes to the home support service are done gradually to minimise any impact on people who presently use it.

"It will be done over several years. People receiving home support at the moment will not see any immediate difference in the service."