Suffolk County Council's Cabinet today unanimously approved plans which will see the county council's residential care homes and wellbeing centres benefit from £60 million of investment.
Under the plans developed by Care UK and officers from the county council, the existing 16 residential homes and eight community wellbeing centres will be replaced by ten new purpose-built homes and wellbeing centres. The new facilities will make the most of advances in design and technology to ensure Suffolk people receive the best possible care.
Councillor Colin Noble, cabinet member for health and adult care said: "I believe the decision taken today will provide surroundings and facilities that will meet peoples care needs both now and way into the future. We have carried out a rigorous process over 15 months to make sure that we got the best deal for the older and vulnerable people in Suffolk. Care UK has a proven track record of delivering high quality care in state of the art facilities - this is what I want for Suffolk. By transferring our care homes and wellbeing centres to Care UK we will attract a significant amount of investment that otherwise would simply not be available. The most vulnerable in society deserve the very best we can provide them - this deal represents that.
“I have been to each of the residential homes to discuss proposals with those that will be affected by them. It was extremely helpful to hear first hand the views of those in our homes — a lot were positives, which is extremely encouraging. However, concerns were raised we have provided reassurance and will continue to do so.
"I fully appreciate that change is unsettling for our residents and we will work hard with them and their relatives to ensure they continue to have their care needs fully met. Each of our resident and customer attending a wellbeing centre will be allocated a social care worker to support them through the changes.
”The number of older people in Suffolk aged 75 and over is expected to increase by 85% by 2030 and the number of older people with dementia is expected to increase by 100% in the same period.The investment means that we will have the facilities and services vulnerable older people need both now and in the coming years. We simply did not have the option to do nothing.
"As well as providing 21st century facilities for our existing residents, the new homes that will be delivered by Care UK will see the number of specialist dementia beds available in the county increase to 680, with 370 contracted directly to the county council. This will help address the current shortfall in dementia care beds available in Suffolk.
All permanent members of staff will transfer to CareUK on their current terms and conditions. Staff and unions have been kept up to date throughout the process. This will continue as the project progresses.
The existing homes and wellbeing centres were built in the 1960s when peoples care needs were much different.Over the years the buildings have become less and less able to meet the changing needs of older and vulnerable people.
The new purpose-built homes will benefit from bigger rooms with en suite facilities, they will make the most of natural light and they will have access to safe outside garden spaces. The homes will be homely and make the most of natural light. As well as the new homes being built for the future care needs we know about, the homes will be flexible enough in layoutand design to ensure that further changes in care needs can be met.