Council responding to care market pressures

Council responding to care market pressures

A new report reveals the pressures facing Norfolk’s care market and how the County Council is responding.

Norfolk County Council spends £328m per year commissioning care services for around 17,500 people, the vast majority from independent providers – but the care sector faces rising demand, increasing costs and recruitment issues.

Even though the most of these services are not run by it, the 2014 care act requires the County Council to “shape a diverse, sustainable and quality” care market.

Councillor Bill Borrett, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Public Health and Prevention, said: “We rely on private companies to provide the vast majority of care places in Norfolk and they are facing major demand and cost pressures. That’s why we invested an extra £11.3m in the care market last year.

“The Council is also extending initiatives like extra care housing, assistive technology and support for carers, so that people can remain independent for as long as possible and spend less time in formal care, as this is what residents tell us they want to see.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • 12 care homes closed last year, with the loss of 173 beds – often following care quality concerns
  • Only four new care homes opened, with 16 beds
  • There are 2,648 nursing care beds and the council “has difficulties making nursing care placements in most areas of Norfolk”
  • 76.7 per cent of care providers were rated as good or outstanding by the Care Quality Commission – putting Norfolk as 10th out of 11 East of England social services areas
  • Annual turnover of care jobs is 37 per cent

Action being taken by the county council includes:

  • Investing £29m to develop 2,800 extra care housing units, where people can live independently, with care and support nearby
  • Norfolk First Response and Norfolk Swift Response, which help people with urgent needs
  • Reablement, which helps people regain independence following time in hospital
  • £1.9m on information and advice, to help people stay independent
  • Work with the NHS on social prescribing, to signpost people to advice and community support
  • Assistive technology, such as telecare and falls sensors, to help around 3,000 people live at home each year
  • A direct payments scheme for 2,500 people, enabling them to choose their own care

The report will be considered when cabinet meets at 10am on Monday, 4 November. The meeting will be webcast live and a recording available on the same channel afterwards.

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