Suffolk: Consultation starts with care home staff as the council prepares for transfer

SENIOR officials from the county council have started consultations with staff at 16 care homes across Suffolk as they prepare to transfer them to a private operator.

The county’s cabinet agreed in April to make Care UK its preferred bidder to take over the homes – and redevelop the service.

Care UK will build 10 new homes to replace the 16, however they will be larger – and will end up providing a total of 680 beds – including 370 for dementia patients – as opposed to the current 526 beds in county council homes.

County councillor with responsibility for adult care Colin Noble and service director Peter Tempest are visiting all 16 care homes over the next few weeks to tell staff what the future holds for them and their workplaces.

A spokesman for the county council said they were keen that staff should find out directly what was to happen to their workplace – and not hear about changes through the media.

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During the debate on the future of care homes, Mr Noble pointed out that council-run homes made up only a small minority of the residential care home beds in the county.

He said there were a total of 5,500 beds in Suffolk. The county pays for 2,300 care home residents – only 476 of those are in council-run homes and the rest are in privately-run accommodation.

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Once the consultation with staff has been finished, the council will prepare a further report which will be discussed by the cabinet again before any final decision on the fate of the care homes is taken.

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