Shake-up in how 5,500 vulnerable people in Norfolk get homecare on cards

Sue Whitaker, chairman of Norfolk County Council's adult social care committee. Picture: Matthew Ush

Sue Whitaker, chairman of Norfolk County Council's adult social care committee. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

The way up to 5,500 people in Norfolk get homecare could be set for a major shake-up, with council leaders warning the service needs 'fundamental revision' as the county's increasing population piles on further pressure.

Proposed changes in how Norfolk County Council provides care to keep vulnerable people in their homes could see the contractors they commission paid according to results.

Up to £50m is invested each year providing support for vulnerable people. 40pc of this investment is through direct payments to service users with the remainder invested through block and spot contracts.

Harold Bodmer, director of community services at Norfolk County Council will propose at a meeting next week that councillors re-think how such services are commissioned because 'fundamental revision' is needed.

He will tell them: 'The level of demand on local home care provision is growing as result of an increasing, ageing population and is predicted to continue to grow, therefore re-commissioning homecare in Norfolk is essential if the support and care needs of the population are to be met in the future.'

Mr Bodmer acknowledges the scale of change is 'large and complex', but that bringing in payment by results in contracts will 'incentivise' providers to perform more effectively.

The proposals also include making sure that commissioning does more to help people regain as much independence as possible.

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The proposals come after the county council recently terminated a contract with Care UK to provide home care to some 200 people in Broadland, following concerns about performance.

Sue Whitaker, chairman of the adult social care committee at Norfolk County Council, said: 'It's important that we focus our services on supporting people to live independently wherever possible. It's what people consistently tell us they want. It's also a better deal for everyone involved.

'Demand for home care services is growing and we expect this to continue. At the same time it's vital that care staff are supported and developed to ensure standards remain high.

'We have to come up with a different solution and I'll be interested to hear what members of the committee make of this proposal.'

The proposals will be discussed when the county council's adult social care committee meets at County Hall on Monday.

• What do you think of homecare in Norfolk? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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