Suffolk: Care homes decision to be reconsidered

SUFFOLK’S decision to transfer its county council-owned residential homes is to be reconsidered by its scrutiny committee in a move that could delay the final deal with Care UK.

The county’s Labour Group has demanded the call-in and a special meeting of the scrutiny committee will now be held within the next two weeks.

Labour leader Sandy Martin said his group had a number of concerns, including:

- The finances were not clear. The county council is giving the homes to Care UK, in return for a reduced price on the places provided by Care UK. But Labout claims it is not clear whether the county council would save money from the privatisation.

- If a multi-national company is brought in, Labour is concerned it will have a profound effect on the ability of the existing smaller care home providers in Suffolk.

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- Care UK is owned by a private equity company.

But Colin Noble, cabinet member for health and adult care at Suffolk County Council, said: “The decision in question has been two years in the making, been brought before cabinet at four different stages and been subject to more care, attention and diligence than any other decision I can think of.

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“At every stage of the process we have taken the utmost care to be open and transparent.

“It is disappointing that five of the six councillors who are challenging the decision didn’t actually attend the meeting in question.

“However, I have the utmost respect for the members of the scrutiny committee. The issue we are discussing is a �60million investment in the future of our care homes. I will look forward to attending the meeting and addressing the points that have been raised.”

The four Labour councillors were joined by Green councillors Mark Ereira and Andrew Stringer in demanding the call-in.

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