Agenda item

Care Homes

To receive an update on care homes in the Borough and in particular provision and demand of residential and nursing care. (20 mins)


Lynne McFetridge, Head of Adult Social Care & Safeguarding and Sarah O’Connor, Adult Safeguarding Service Manager, provided an update on care home provision within the Borough.


During the discussion of this item the following points were made:


·         At present in the Borough there were 21 homes providing a total of 356 residential care beds and 542 nursing beds.  There were 3 Extra Care Units with 106 flats.  Fosters would be coming online in September/October 2017.  Additional private provision in Bulmershe would become available from approximately March/April 2017.

·         Current capacity within the market was considered to be adequate.  However, the impact of quality assurance frameworks and organisational safeguarding concerns resulting in an embargo (red status) for a provider could dramatically impact on the market and place availability.  In the past year this particular issue had had an impact.

·         Wokingham had a high number of self-funders so places were often priced at premium rates.

·         The Borough had an ageing population.  In 2015 there were 4442 people with a high level of need and by 2030 it was predicted that there would be approximately 7280.  It was predicted that there would be a significant growth in the number of over 65’s by 2030.

·         Future market shaping needed to be based on research into the local ageing population.  Public Health and Commissioning were working on mapping the future population. 

·         Members were informed that anecdotal evidence suggested that many affluent self-funding residents reaching retirement age were utilising high property value in the Borough. 

·         In addition many of the ‘baby boom’ population were indicating that different choices of care were preferred to traditional types of care.  This could potentially lead to a much reduced demand for provision of ‘traditional care’ in the future.

·         It was noted that with the current significant proportion of affluent self-funders reducing, cost to the councils might significantly increase.

·         Sarah O’Connor updated Members on quality assurance and outlined the expectation, standards and local and national drivers.

·         Quality assurance began at the contract and commissioning stage.  A Care Governance Framework and a proactive and reactive response was provided to quality assurance concerns identified.  In addition there was a Serious Concerns Framework in place.  The Care Governance Board met monthly and analysed information and concerns received and safeguarding alerts.  Information could be received from partners and the external regulators, amongst others.

·         Members were informed of the external quality assurance agencies:

Ø  Care Quality Commission;

Ø  Safeguarding Adults Board (tri-borough with Reading and West Berkshire councils);

Ø  NHS England South Standard Operating Process for Enhanced Levels of Surveillance.

·         Councillor Blumenthal commented that planning permission had previously been granted for a care home in Loddon but that the developer had been unable to attract a provider.  She questioned whether this was a Borough wide issue.  Lynne McFetridge reminded Members that Wokingham was an expensive area to live and that this had an impact on staff recruitment.  Stuart Rowbotham emphasised that there was not concerns regarding the number of homes and in fact many residents came from outside of the Borough.

·         Options with regards to securing provision were under consideration.

·         Councillor Jones questioned whether residents would ever be placed far outside the Borough.  Stuart Rowbotham commented that the Council would look at the most economic means of sustaining the local family link.  Under the Care Act 2014 the Council had a responsibility to help maintain local family relationships.

·         Councillor Jones went on to ask how often care homes were inspected.  He was informed that the Care Quality Commission had a round of inspections but that care homes were inspected approximately every 2 years. If the home had received a good rating it could be up to 3 years.  Councillor Jones questioned whether this was sufficient and was informed that it was.

·         Nicola Strudley indicated that Healthwatch Wokingham Borough would be undertaking a project on extra care homes, working together with Optalis to understand the experience of living in extra care housing.

·         Councillor Miall referred to concerns raised in the media regarding certain care homes and asked how issues had come to light to the Council.  Sarah O’Connor indicated that safeguarding concerns had been raised which had been considered under the Quality Assurance programme.  Residents within the home had been reviewed and an improvement programme monitored.


RESOLVED:  That Lynne McFetridge and Sarah O’Connor be thanked for their presentation.

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