The state of care for older people in Cheshire East reflects the national picture. Chronic underfunding by the Government and a high demand for Care has resulted in a shortage of places. Hedge Funds have decided that there is no longer the huge profit they came to expect from Care Homes, mainly because local authorities just don’t have the money. Consequently, local authorities have driven down the price they are willing to pay and unfortunately, unless you have considerable personal financial resources, you are likely to find yourself in a less than satisfactory Care Home. It should come as no surprise that some profit making companies are cutting corners, refusing to invest in skilled workers, and training for staff can consist of watching a DVD.
But the Conservatives promised something better in Cheshire East. In 2014 the Conservatives decided to close the excellent Council-run facilities at Lincoln House in Crewe and Hollins View in Macclesfield. They then set up a Quality Assurance Team to ensure the quality of the care and support services commissioned from the independent sector, with the promise that only the best was good enough for Cheshire East residents. Yet week after week we read of the most disturbing events in the very places where older people are meant to be cared for and protected. The Cheshire East Council team have repeatedly failed to report what has been going wrong so dismally in some care homes. It has been left to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to blow the whistle on some of the worst care homes.
Why do Councillors have to wait to read in the local press that a Care Home in the area they represent, is found to be Inadequate, or that it Requires Improvement rather be informed by Officers or the Portfolio Holder? After all CQC Inspections are public documents and can be accessed on their website.
Councillor Laura Jeuda, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield South said:
‘The public need reassurance that Cheshire East Council are committed to protecting the rights of vulnerable older people. It is not good enough to have a Quality Assurance Team if it cannot ensure that people are safe. Families need to feel that their loved ones are cared for, respected and kept safe.’
Councillor Irene Faseyi, Labour Councillor for Crewe Central said:
‘When Cheshire East Council closed the Respite and Intermediate Care facilities at Hollins View in Macclesfield and Lincoln House in Crewe, carers and members of the public were assured that there would be an equivalent type of care in the independent sector. Both Hollins View and Lincoln House provided an excellent service to both respite users and also to patients discharged from hospital for a period of intermediate care. Both Hollins View and Lincoln House consistently received excellent results from CQC Inspections, staff were caring and both the people using the facility and their Carers valued the service.
Adult Social Care needs to be consistent, while we know that many residential homes provide excellent care, there are unfortunately too many that do not.’