Day care for elderly will be privatised

ALL DAY care services for elderly people in Suffolk are set to be privatised to enable more people suffering from dementia to be cared for by the county council.

ALL DAY care services for elderly people in Suffolk are set to be privatised to enable more people suffering from dementia to be cared for by the county council.

Council taxpayers will still meet the £2.6m bill for day care, but the authority claims it can buy more places if its own staff does not provide the services.

Described as a “bold step”, the council's cabinet will be asked to endorse plans to transfer all its day care services to the community and independent sectors before the end of March 2008.

The space freed up by removing day care provision from council run residential homes will enable Suffolk to provide more long term care for the increasingly elderly population in the county, many of whom are frail, vulnerable or suffering from dementia.

Graham Newman, the portfolio for adult and community services, said the council also has to take action to combat the rising cost of day care provision.

He said: “We cannot pass on a significant proportion of the costs to people who take part in day facilities. But we must keep our costs down so that we can provide more care to more people as demand continues to rise.”

Most Read

The proposals are in line with the authority's long term aim of becoming a buyer of services rather than a direct provider using its own staff. But Mr Newman moved to reassure people who currently use day care.

He said: “Our commitment remains that no changes will be made to who provides the service until proper alternative, good quality care is in place, both for individuals and established friendship groups.

“Everyone who is assessed as needing our help will get a service now and into the future.”

Mr Newman said he was “confident” that experienced council staff would find “valuable roles under any future arrangements.”

Liberal Democrats immediately condemned the move. Group leader Kathy Pollard accused the Tory-run council of “targeting older people in unorganised efforts to try to save money from front line services”. She said the plans would create “fear and confusion” among older people who depend on the council for much needed care.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter