Plans for residential and care services to be revised

PUBLISHED: 12:05 11 December 2008 | UPDATED: 11:50 17 June 2010

PLANS for the development of Devon County Council s residential and care services for older people are to be revised as a result of the current economic downturn.

PLANS for the development of Devon County Council's residential and care services for older people are to be revised as a result of the current economic downturn.

In recent months negotiations between the County Council and preferred bidders Shaw Healthcare have had to take into account the unprecedented changes in the financial climate.

Devon County Council's Director of Adult and Community Services, David Johnstone will recommend to the Executive Committee on December 16th that the Council enters into new negotiations with Shaw to undertake a smaller scale development programme of up to 190 residential and nursing care beds.

The County Council will invite other potential partners to come forward with additional development proposals, thus potentially spreading the number of organisations involved in the improvement programme for the County Council's residential care homes.

Discussions with partners and local community representatives to consider options for how each of the County's residential homes can be developed to best meet the needs of local communities will continue and be concluded by April.

This new proposal is expected to delay the original development timetable by between four and six months and residents, service users, relatives and staff are all being updated by letter with news of recent developments.

Staff had anticipated a transfer to a new employer in February 2009. This has now been delayed.

Devon County Council is also asking Shaw to demonstrate that it can offer value for money for its Extra Care housing proposals before including this within the Shaw single phase. Under the current plans from Shaw Healthcare, Devon County Council would invest in Extra Care housing developments, which would offer older people the opportunity to rent or buy a purpose built flat which includes on-site care and support.

Commenting on the revised proposals, Director of Adult and Community Services, David Johnstone said:

"We have experienced the most rapid and large scale changes to global financial markets in living memory. It is more important than ever that the council is seen to be protecting tax payers from risk.

"We need to ensure that we buy value for money services and keep our programme of service improvements moving ahead to meet the needs of our growing population of older people in Devon."

He added; "We will now continue negotiations with Shaw Healthcare to reach a financially acceptable deal based on a smaller number of homes."

Devon County Council is planning to invite other organisations to submit proposals for the development of Devon County Council homes and care services for older people, outside the single phase, in a new tendering process which will follow further community consultation work. Details of the community meetings will be sent to local interest groups and stakeholders over the next month.

Devon County Council's Executive Member, Councillor Hugo Barton said:

"The current economic climate has meant that both Devon County Council and Shaw have had to proceed with extreme caution to ensure that we can securely develop the best possible services for older people, responding to local needs, both now and in the future.

"With one of the most rapidly increasing elderly populations in Britain, Devon County Council needs to ensure that investments are made wisely

and care provision is tailored to each community."

Jeremy Nixey, Chief Executive of Shaw Healthcare, said:

"Shaw is still committed to continued negotiations with the Council and is confident that, despite the challenges arising from the current economic climate, it can deliver much needed value for money care services across the County.

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