'Fragile' system highlighted as shortage of care home places discussed by Calderdale councillors

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A shortage of care home places is among problems facing a council ahead of new legislation.

The Government is preparing legislation reforming social care and scrutiny councillors in Calderdale were assessing the potential implications for the council and partners in the light of existing issues.

Councillors heard sustainability of an already fragile care system is worrying and detail still sought over how Government will fund care.

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Care home places are a concern, with Calderdale seeing two care homes closing recently.

Calderdale councillor Chris Pillai (Con, Rastrick) is a former care home owner.Calderdale councillor Chris Pillai (Con, Rastrick) is a former care home owner.
Calderdale councillor Chris Pillai (Con, Rastrick) is a former care home owner.

Officers related an example of how residents recently needed to be transferred from a care home which had become unviable, which also had a human factor in unsettling vulnerable residents.

The system was becoming more fragile and problematic, against a background of rising demand – a “perfect storm”, members of the council’s Adults, Health and Social Care Scrutiny Board heard.

Rastrick councillor Chris Pillai (Con) said he was a former care home owner and commented that home owners and providers had been treated horrendously by local authorities in the past.

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Officers said recently retired Head of Adults and Social Care services Iain Baines had been trying to rebuild relationships with care homes, ensuring they were supported through Covid.

An aerial views of part of CalderdaleAn aerial views of part of Calderdale
An aerial views of part of Calderdale

Support to care homes was now ongoing.

The council official added: “We totally accept there were decisions made in the past that made the market fragile – now we listen, and are continuing to listen, to providers.”

The council is developing extra care places for some vulnerable residents with the most complex needs, to be built in Todmorden and north Halifax.

Charging arrangements are also expected to be set out in the new legislation.

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The cost to the council in funding care is also an issue, with current fees no longer reflecting the price paid for care, said the report to councillors.

It is not yet known exactly what these will be but services will be subject to inspection, along the lines of children’s services (by Ofsted).

Care homes are already subject to inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Councillors agreed to have an interim meeting in December once the Government’s full proposals have been announced.