Is this the Time to Close Council Care Homes?

2 Mar 2015

One privately owned residential care home in Surrey has recently been closed by Care Quality Commission meaning that older people had to be moved at short notice. Another home close to Surrey's borders which the council has used for care packages was also closed down. A check of Care Quality Commission's website shows that there are 5 privately owned homes within 13 miles of Guildford where they have been found to be inadequate in one or more categories.

So is this really the right time for Surrey's Conservative leadership to close the residential care homes it owns? Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council think it is not. The reason for the county wanting to get rid of the homes is not because of poor levels of care but because the council has failed to look after its property. They have piled up large sums of money in the bank while the buildings have been left to become outdated.

That is why the Adult Social Care spokesperson on Surrey, Cllr Fiona White, is asking a question at Surrey's Conservative cabinet meeting on 10th March. Fiona says: "With the difficulties some care homes have got into and the Care Act just coming into force in 2015/16 and all its implications, Surrey needs to keep all its options open. That includes making sure that the council can provide a good level of care for everyone who can no longer live independently in their own homes. This is a time to invest in updating the property to make sure they never let down Surrey residents".

She also added: "Whenever I have visited Surrey-owned residential care homes, the residents have said they are very happy with the care they receive. The people working there have a high level of commitment to their work and the people they look after. The Conservative-run county council are letting down both those residents and care workers".

Notes to editors:

A draft of Cllr White's question to the cabinet meeting on 10th March is as follows:

"As you are all aware, there have recently been two high-profile closures of care homes, one of which - Merok Park - is in Surrey and the other in Sutton has been used by Surrey County Council to place people in need of residential care packages. A search of CQC's website shows that 5 care homes within a 13 mile radius of Guildford have been reported as being Inadequate in one or more categories. In view of this information, do the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and his cabinet colleagues believe that this is the right time to close council-owned residential homes, especially in view of the responsibility on Surrey to provide alternative care at very short notice in the case of a home being required to close?"

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