Kent County Council has delayed a decision on the future of four care homes until March, but a meeting this week suggests that private operators are being sought to take over residential and day care services.
The council is considering how to provide the best services at the best price for elderly users and residents at the Dorothy Lucy Centre in Maidstone, Kiln Court in Faversham, Blackburn Lodge in Sheerness and Wayfarers in Sandwich (pictured above).
Graham Gibbens, cabinet member for Adult Social Care and Public Health hinted that the council is committed to giving up its direct provision of services. “The role of a council has changed and the independent sector delivers over 90% of services for adult social care,” he said at the January 14 meeting.
““When these homes were built, the needs of people were very different to what they are now,” he added.
The council noted that buildings were not designed to meet the current and future needs of older people who continue to present with complex needs requiring more specialist modern facilities.
Our older buildings have reached the end of their useful life and it is estimated that it would take significant investment to bring them up to national industry standards. The homes cost approximately £4 million per year in running costs, a proportion of which would be saved through the proposals put forward in the consultation, the council said in a statement.
“KCC feels that this money would be more effectively spent working with partners and the market to develop modern services which better meet the needs of service users,” the statement concluded.
The council has slightly different plans for its two care homes, Blackburn Lodge and Wayfarers.
Blackburn Lodge will continue to operate unchanged for two to three years while the council works with the market to develop alternative local services for dementia care and other nursing home services.
Wayfarers is expected to change hands within a year as the council hopes to sell it as a going concern.