More carers thanks to extra money

MORE than £8million is set to be ploughed into the county to improve services for older people.Following a disapppointing review by the Social Services Inspectorate at the end of last year resulting in just one star for Suffolk County Council, older peoples services are being given a huge revamp.

MORE than £8million is set to be ploughed into the county to improve services for older people.

Following a disapppointing review by the Social Services Inspectorate at the end of last year resulting in just one star for Suffolk County Council, older peoples services are being given a huge revamp.

Just some for the changes to come from the money include 100,000 extra hours in domiciliary care, 117 new residential and nursing care beds, 48 of which will be for older people with mental health problems as well as more very sheltered housing beds and new prevention services such as more lunch clubs and very sheltered housing schemes.

Part of the money is being made up from cash that should have been used to pay the £100 fines that were set up to encourage Social Services to solve the problem of bed blockers.

New resources from October last year to pay the reimbursement fines is being invested in the new services in lieu of the payment of fines, with the exception of the Ipswich Hospital system.

A proposal, due to be discussed by Suffolk County Council's Executive committee today has outlined a vision for the future for older people.

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The wish list includes putting in more support for older people to prevent deterioration and crises which could result in them needing to go into hospital or a nursing home.

It is also planned to keep older people in their own homes for as long as possible, living in their own community rather than entering into long term care in a care home.

Other plans are to increase recognition of the specialist requirements for older people with mental health needs such as dementia and depression to maximise the effectiveness of care and support provided.

Bedblockers have also come under the spotlight and the vision for the future includes developing more intermediate care and transitional serivces to make sure that no-one is assessed for a long term care home placement while they are in an acute hospital bed.

More than 70 additional transitional and intermediate case beds have already been introduced during 2003/4 to help achieve the goals.

Bedblockers in the mental health services are not included in the current fining system but more resources are to be put in place this year to reduce the delays.

Work surrounding older people with mental health problems is also included in the new strategy.

Next month a new partnership arrangement looks set to go ahead between the Local Health Partnership NHS Trust and social care to provide a multi-disciplinary community mental health team for working age adults and work is being done to see if this could also work for older people.

Councillor Terry Green said: "I welcome the investments that we are now able to make in better services for older people in Suffolk. I see myself as the Suffolk champion for older people, and it is vital for the dignity and independence of many, that our services continue to get quicker, better and more efficiently coordinated with our local National Health Service partners.

nAre you pleased to see this investment in social care, or are you worried about the impact on council tax bills? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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