Plans to rebalance home care next year

BACK IN ACTION: The Southlands unit has now reopened. PHOTO: John Maddrell JM120823 (3).

BACK IN ACTION: The Southlands unit has now reopened. PHOTO: John Maddrell JM120823 (3).

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A MAJOR shake up of the Home Care service is planned.

Social Care Minister Chris Robertshaw said his department was working to rebalance home care and was looking to transfer the service to a new provider next year.

He said to this end, it is working with voluntary sector and non profit making partners.

His department announced a restructuring programme for government-run adult care services in February this year.

This was intended to ensure vulnerable adults, those with learning disabilities and the elderly received the help they needed to remain living at home as long as possible rather than in residential care homes.

Until recently, around 80 per cent of resources had been spent on residential care, with the remaining 20 per cent on home care. Social Care intend to shift that balance.

Earlier this year the announcement was made to close the Glenside old people’s home in Douglas. Since then most of the residents have been moved to other accommodation and staff redeployed to other services or offered support to find other jobs.

The home is now expected to close in Easter 2013. Only 22 of the 57 residents there when the closure was first announced last February remain. Of those, 16 are in the EMI unit and will transfer to Thie Maenagh in the near future. Most staff had secured other employment despite initial fears there could be as many as 10 or 12 redundancies.

Mr Robertshaw MHK said his aim was to ensure services were viable despite the challenges of a growing and ageing population as well as financial constraints.

He said rebalancing domiciliary care would secure the future of home care services in the island and ensure a ‘more flexible, responsive and cost effective service’ is delivered.

The Minister said: ‘I am pleased with the work my department has been taking forward in order to address a number of fundamental issues in the delivery of adult care services. The work to reduce residential capacity is now drawing to a close and we will now be focusing on rebalancing home care.

‘We are determined to ensure that any changes are open and transparent and we will continue to work with partners to make sure there is good information available to service users and their families and carers as well as our own staff.’

In August, staff shortages forced the temporary closure of the Gansey unit at Southlands in Port St Mary. Eight residents had to be moved to the unit at Thie Meanagh in Farmhill. Giving evidence to a Tynwald scrutiny committee, chief executive Chris Corlett said his department had faced a ‘perfect storm’.

But following a successful recruitment drive, the Gansey unit reopened last month.

Southlands’s Surby unit was opened at the beginning of October and five residents have moved in. The remaining beds in the 12 bed unit will be occupied by the end of December.

Reayrt Skyal, the new resource centre for elderly people in the north of the island, is currently recruiting to posts and will open as soon as staff are in place.

Mr Robertshaw said his department had been developing proposals to create a more consistent, fair and transparent process for accessing care services and support for carers.

A public consultation is to take place on the new process in early 2013.

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