Elderly Persons Homes scrutiny meeting 20th October

21st October, 2011

Ross Willmott

The scrutiny review on the future of the Council’s elderly persons homes, under the chairmanship of Cllr Paul Westley, has identified some interesting facts. Last night we learned that the running costs of our homes are about the same as those in the private sector, excepting for salaries. This is important as we are told that we may not be able to afford to run our own homes and undertake the refurbishment required. So the consultation presupposes the closure or selling/leasing of some or all of the homes.

Another reason given for closing is that the homes are under occupied and that this is a result of people not wanting to go into a residential home. If this is the case why would the private or voluntary sector take them over, as has happened in the County? Anyway we were told that occupancy is 90% or over in six of our homes, the other two being 86% and 60%. So there are some serious questions here that we will no doubt be looking into further.

Members reported on the visits that they had made and discussions held with residents and relatives. In every case all those they spoke to said they were happy with where they were and the care provided. There was no demand it seemed to make all rooms en-suite or other structural changes. Having heard this not surprisingly none of the members felt that there was any argument to close any of the homes they visited.

Cllr Dawood (Cabinet Member) helpfully pointed out that the total cost of refurbishment was around £9m. It was commented that this is about the cost of a new primary school (eg Mellor £8.6m). It was unclear if this cost included making all rooms en-suite. If it did and this was not necessary then the cost could be a lot lower.

We were informed that there may be scope for reducing the number of single homeless hostels and it was suggested that any savings could be invested in elderly persons homes as housing and adult services are now all one department.

I have not forgotten the point about salaries. We had a paper that showed that the salary bill for staffing our homes is about twice that in the private sector. This does seem to explain why the private sector can run the homes for a lower cost and presumably make a profit. However it was argued that salary coats should be taken out of the discussion as it is the council who has decided to give our staff these terms and conditions, because we believe that they are fair and people should be paid properly, have pensions and holidays etc. Having supported this on the one hand it would be contradictory to then say on the other that because the salaries are too high we have to close the homes. Would we close a school because we had decided we could not afford the salaries of the teachers?

More to come as the enquiry continues………………………………..

 

The work of the committee made the front page of the Mercury

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  1. Concerned of leicester

    21st October, 2011

    I was always sure of this fact and it has come true. The scrutiny review committee under the chairmanship of Paul underlines these fact:
    – Our homes are doing fine.
    – It is not underoccupied to that extent that it deserves a closure
    -I have seen some of the Homes – Preston Lodge and Thurncout .. they seem to be fine:

    There is a petition from MT Moore, and signed by 60 people about the closure of Thurncourt home: presented to Cllr Dawood- all to be told that yes this is under consultation:

    But some words by MT Moore really reflects the scenario at the Thurncourt home: He goes on to say:
    “My aged mother has been living in this home for a few years now. She is happy living there and gets on well with allthe staff who have always been very aring towards her,> For all the years hehasbeen in residence the staff have always kept the home clean and smelling fresh and there has always been a waiting list to enter the home because of the WAY IT IS RUN:”

    Good words those – but I gather this petition sent on the 18th of May is gathering dust .. probably somewhere!

    So for all intent and purpose – for me, we can do with the homes – provided we cut down, on our expenses and staff numbers.

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