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Monday, November 10, 2014

County consults on elderly care

Last week, Denbighshire launched it's 'Cutting our Cloth' campaign, asking residents for their views on the proposed budget cuts facing the Authority.

The council needs to find £17 million over the next two years and has published a list of proposals which will be debated by councillors in December before setting the final budget in February. 

This means that the council has to consider making what it says are "some difficult choices" and one of the things being considered is to carry out a consultation on the future provision of in-house care services in the county. 

The council funds over 500 older people to live in care homes across Denbighshire, with just 54 - or 10% - of those living in the three council-owned care homes at Awelon, Ruthin, Dolwen in Denbigh and Cysgod y Gaer in Corwen.   

An authority spokesperson said: "Older people frequently tell us that they want to live in their own homes as they get older, not move into residential care, so we want to explore how we can develop alternatives to this such as Extra Care Housing Schemes.

"The provision of 'standard' residential care - not nursing care or specialist elderly mental health care - which is only what local authority owned homes can provide, is rapidly reducing in demand as alternatives such as Extra Care Housing Schemes are being developed in partnership with other housing associations and housing providers in key communities across the county.

"Part of the consultation would be about what they think about the council supporting the development of more of this type of provision as an alternative to the three council-owned residential care homes, which are a significantly more expensive to run than equivalent services provided by either independent developers or organisations such as housing Associations or charitable  organisations. 

"In relation to the 54 individuals living in Awelon, Dolwen and Cysgod y Gaer, many of them may require alternative accommodation as their needs increase for nursing or specialist elderly mental health care.

"The council has given a commitment to ensure that they will not close any council-owned care home if there are individuals living there whose needs cannot be met in alternative provision.

"We recognise that any change can be upsetting for those involved and that is why we are considering starting a consultation during which, we will meet with residents and their relatives or representatives to explain how services could be provided and to gather their views on any changes. Part of any consultation will include a review of how any proposed change would potentially impact on each individual resident. 

"The local authority would like to reassure all service users and their relatives or representatives that when a consultation is agreed by members, we will work with them and support them throughout the process. 

"The consultation would include people living within the three Extra Care Housing Schemes, Gorwel Newydd, Rhyl, Nant y Mor, Prestatyn and Llys Awelon in Ruthin, where domiciliary care services are provided by the council. These housing schemes for older people are owned by housing associations, not the local authority, and so the consultation would purely be about the provision of care services within these housing schemes.

"Arrangements for housing support or any other services in the building will not be affected so will not be included as part of this consultation.

"It will also look at the day care provision at Hafan Deg in Rhyl, which currently has ten service users and ten members of staff."

A summary of the council's proposals can be found at
www.denbighshire.gov.uk/consultations, together with a short online form for you to complete. You can submit your response online.

Alternatively, you can e-mail: public.relations@denbighshire.gov.uk or write to: Cutting Our Cloth, Communications Department, Denbighshire County Council, County Hall, Wynnstay Road, Ruthin, LL15 1YN or you can leave your comments at any council reception area. 

If you wish your comment to be considered by the Council at its December  meeting, it should arrive with the council no later than November 27.

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