Suffolk’s care homes look set to be sold off

Suffolk County Council is poised to sell off its care homes in a bid to cut costs following a review over the winter.

The authority's cabinet is being recommended to move ahead with a proposal to transfer the county's 16 council-run care homes to other operators.

The care homes include The Dell in Beccles, and Blyford and Stradbroke Court, in Lowestoft, and Paddock House in Eye.

The authority says it will seek expressions of interest from a range of organisations, businesses and other community enterprises - including its own staff.

If agreed, commercial and property advisers KPMG will work with the council to provide expertise and generate interest in the homes within the independent sector.

They will be charged with ensuring the council gets the best possible value from any sale while guaranteeing residents are not adversely affected by the changes. The council said each bid would be carefully assessed and the move would eventually lead to a saving of �4m per year.

However, it is understood that while the council is keen to transfer as many homes as possible to other operators there are a 'core' number of homes that may prove difficult to transfer.

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Colin Noble, the county council's portfolio holder for adult and community services, thanked people who took the time to give their opinions on the future of the care homes.

He said: 'What has become clear from our work on the council's future budgets is that we are, regrettably and because of government cuts, no longer in a position where we can afford to continue running and improving residential care homes ourselves.

'We therefore need to look at new ways of providing care for older people – whilst protecting them from uncertainty and unnecessary upheaval.

'That's why we are looking at what we think is the best possible option given the circumstances.

'I want to make one thing absolutely clear. One of the options we were looking at was closing all care homes.

'I'm pleased to say we're not going forward with that option today. We remain committed to providing high-quality care for the most vulnerable people in our communities - and want to work with colleagues in the independent sector who are equality committed to ensuring high-quality care continues.'

The proposal follows a three-month review in which over 1000 responses were received.

The report and recommendations will be presented to the council's cabinet on May 24.