Council considers avoidable care costs

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Published Date: 

26 Jan 2013 - 13:25

At its meeting on 14 February 2013, Argyll and Bute Council will consider the closure of Struan Lodge residential care home in Dunoon as part of a package of measures to improve the way its care services are provided to meet the needs of older people and reduce costs in line with the available budget.

The council’s Special Committee for Adult Services has recommended to the full council that it considers the closure following almost three years of service reviews that has already seen changes in the way the council provides care at home and day-care services. The committee has considered information around the greater demands arising from the increase in older peoples’ population and the complexity of needs they need help with. These changes require new models of care and support to be developed, including changing the balance of care away from residential care towards supporting people to live more independently with support in their own homes. This requires the development of a range of care options that will meet the diverse and complex needs of older people and we recognise that the ability to live within their own homes significantly improves the quality of life they enjoy.

As a result, the use of residential care places has reduced over time and the Special Committee was advised that there were over 40 vacancies in the Cowal area and that that level had been maintained for some time. The vast majority of residential and nursing care beds in Argyll and Bute are purchased by the council from the independent sector, with only around 15 per cent being provided through the council’s residential homes.

It costs the council £1,621 per resident per week to provide care in Struan Lodge. That compares to £487 for residential care or £566 for nursing care if the council purchases the service through the independent sector. The overall annual additional cost for the council is around £400,000 per year. If council approves the decision, on closure of Struan Lodge the £400,000 released per year will be used to meet the increasing demand for adult services, improve the overall quality of care and increase the range of care options available to all our older people.

Councillor Anne Horn, Lead Councillor for Adult Services spoke about maintaining and improving the quality of adult care throughout Argyll and Bute given the financial pressures that face the council: “The proposed closure of Struan Lodge is a difficult decision given the high regard it is held in by the local community.

“However, in these difficult times, we cannot avoid considering how best we could use the funding released by the £400,000 of avoidable costs to better match the care provision on offer to the needs of older people throughout Argyll and Bute.

“The council recognises that a closure will be unsettling and will work closely with residents, families and carers to consider the options available and make the transition to new care arrangements as smooth as possible. We already have strong commissioning arrangements with the independent care homes in all areas of Argyll and Bute and work closely with them to continuously improve the quality of care in the council area”.