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New care model backed by Suffolk’s cabinet after three years of problems

PUBLISHED: 17:02 09 October 2018 | UPDATED: 17:02 09 October 2018

The cabinet met at Endeavour House in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

The cabinet met at Endeavour House in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

Suffolk County Council is to scrap its controversial new method of providing home care after three years – and bring in a new system better able to cope with rising demand.

The Support to Live at Home (StLH) scheme was introduced in 2015 aiming to reduce the number of organisations providing care to county council clients in Suffolk.

But it failed to deliver the service that had been planned – with the result that only 29% of the county’s care came through this contract. The rest came through more expensive “spot” contracts – designed only to be used in an emergency.

The council is now drawing up a new operating model based on individual parishes or towns across the county with prices for care being offered in five bands.

It is consulting with individual clients before the introduction of the new service – unlike in 2015 when letters telling people their contracts were being changed was the first many of them knew of the new services.

The county’s cabinet approved the changes on Tuesday after adult care spokeswoman Beccy Hopfensperger told her colleagues that the previous reform had failed to achieve its aim of improving home care services in Suffolk.

Questioned by Labour group leader Sarah Adams, Mrs Hopfensperger said she was confident this time the county had got things right: “We are confident this new model will produce more effective care for our clients”

The new system would cost the same – but it should be more efficient and responsive.

Ms Adams said: “We heard this in 2015, why should we have any confidence that this change should be any better than it was then?”

The council is expected to start looking for organisations to provide care for people in their own homes over the next few weeks – and expects many existing providers to tender.

It hopes that many people will not have a change in carer with their existing contracts being changes to the new model.

It will also set up its own “Provider of Last Resort” organisation which would be able to step in if any of the other providers were unable to fulfil a contract.

Organisations providing care in rural areas are likely to be paid more than those in Suffolk’s larger towns because the cost of travel is higher.

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