Care home sale is attacked
PROPOSALS to sell off the few remaining public owned care homes in Essex have been likened to "selling the family silver" by a leading GP.Essex County Council is considering the future of its 12 remaining retirement homes and has recommended they are privatised.
PROPOSALS to sell off the few remaining public owned care homes in Essex have been likened to "selling the family silver" by a leading GP.
Essex County Council is considering the future of its 12 remaining retirement homes and has recommended they are privatised.
John Cormack, the press secretary for the British Medical Association, warned there was a dire shortage of beds for the elderly and claimed the change could lead to bed blocking which would damage the NHS.
Mr Cormack said that such changes, designed to increase the number of beds, could actually cut the total available in the long term.
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However, the council said the move would ensure more money could be invested and would create more beds in the longer term.
The authority started a consultation process in July and sought the views of all concerned parties – it is set to finish tomorrow.
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Currently, only 3,300 out of more than 6,000 beds are being accessed with the remaining ones being utilised by private admissions or used by other councils other than Essex.
It is hoped by privatising the remaining homes, more money could be ploughed into improvements – that the council cannot afford – and the creation of beds which the council would be able to access.
The 17 homes, which have already been transferred to the private sector have created 320 extra beds, of which the authority has first option on more than 50 percent.
But Mr Cormack said as a GP in Essex, it was his personal opinion that the proposals were disastrous, and would only benefit the council through short- term financial gain.
He said: "My message would be 'do not sell off any more homes and do not do anything that cuts the number of beds available'.
"It is like selling off the family silver. The policy of selling off homes has proved disastrous. There are, of course, short-term financial gains for Essex County Council, but the taxpayer ends up paying through the nose."
He warned one of the 17 homes, which had already gone into the private sector had since lost many of its experienced staff as a result.
County councillor Derek Robinson, cabinet member for community care, last nightsaid: "I have visited public sector and independently run residential homes in Essex to see how they manage their older people's homes.
"I have also visited other counties to see how they take forward older people's care. I am looking to ensure that Essex homes receive the investment that they need to continue to provide a high standard of care to residents."