A long but vital day

Yesterday we had the longest SCC Cabinet meeting I think I can recall, it started at 11am and finished at 5:50pm with a half hour break for lunch made it 6 hours and 20 minutes! which along with the 90 minute cabinet pre-meeting and then off to FHDC for well another an hour and a half Conservative Group meeting made for a very long day.

I suppose I did not help as the first item which was about the transfer of Suffolk’s Care homes to Care UK and them investing £60M in new homes across Suffolk, came with a 40 page report (available on the SCC web site) setting out the conclusion of a body of work that has been some 20 years in the making, with successive administrations having grappled with our Residential Care homes with a refit here and a sale there. The paper set out the facts and figures of a landmark deal to support our residents and bring significant investment in the shape of 10 new Care Homes.

But what was excellent was the quality of the discussion we had exploring the merits of my proposal and was almost entirely focused on its impact on our resident in their homes.

Two years ago almost to the day I asked the cabinet to begin a process to look at our strategy to address care homes almost all of which are now 40 years old. When you compare them to modern homes and the facilities they have as much as they are all loved by those who live in them; are really stating not only to be a challenge to repair and keep going but also to the staff to deliver quality and the right care needed by the increasing care needs of our residents, as one Care Home Manager put it in one of my visits, 20 years ago people arrived with suitcases now they arrive in ambulances, we support people at home far better than we did and accordingly only those with more complex needs are coming to our and private homes.

I started the initial review process by going to all 16 of our Care homes to discuss in person our thoughts and to learn what our residents and families most values about their homes and I ended the process by fulfilling my promise to go back to all 16 and personally explain our thoughts.

In all the papers and discussions that has taken place it’s not until you get a chance to sit down with resident and families or debate it as fully as we did yesterday that you understand the importance of nursing care as an integral part of a care home; that you realise just what a step up Care UK will bring.

Today in our homes a resident can only be supported on their care journey up to the limit of care that District nurses can provide on their visits; once your needs become more complex you have to leave which is hugely upsetting to residents, families and Staff and the enhanced offer that Care UK will be able to bring is one of the things that so many families have really said they want to see. We simply can’t in our homes because they are firstly too small to have a nursing unit and almost all of our room sizes would not allow the equipment needs to be addressed, Care UK room sizes are significantly bigger than ours allowing the space for equipment and to provide nursing care.

I pick this point out as one of the many points we debated yesterday that resulted in the Cabinet unanimous decision that this is the right way forward.

I spoke with Paul Geater chief political reporter for the EADT after the debate and he told me we had discussed it for 2 hours and 10 minutes. In short not only the longest debate in my time in the cabinet but also perhaps the most detailed and rigorous body of work the council has undertaken to find a solution that truly is a Landmark deal, other Councils have closed homes, other Councils have tried to sell their Care Homes and failed, other Councils have had private providers take over their homes, but almost none have been able to have their homes taken over and then 10 new homes built to replace the others, a Landmark deal indeed.

About askcolinnoble
I'm a Conservative politician-lite, I dabble a bit in Party Politics with my main focus of working hard and being a strong voice for my community making sure local government delivers quality services and fellow residents get value for money for their hard earned money they pay in Council tax | Where this Gravatar appears and I am expressing my views or liking something I do so in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Suffolk County Council, Forest Heath District Council, the Conservative Party or come to think of it anyone else | But having said the above at an election time and to stay legal anything I write is promoted by Lance Stanbury on behalf of Colin Noble, both at West Suffolk Conservative Association, Unit 8, Swan Lane Business Park, Exning, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7FN

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