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Administration Reviews Council Stance on Care Homes

Issued: 14 Jun 2007

The new Independent/Scottish National Party Administration on The Highland Council will move to end the commissioning of five new care homes from the private sector at the next Council meeting on Thursday 28 June.

The Administration will move that the Council builds and runs the five new care homes itself as part of a wider set of proposals which will see an extra 600 new sheltered houses in the Highlands and an increase in the Council's home care budget by 50% over the next four years.

Councillor Margaret Davidson, Chairman of the Council's Housing and Social Work Committee, said: "The Council has always had an option on the table to build the care homes ourselves if we decided for any reason to pull out of the procurement. This Administration is prepared to commit an additional £21million of expenditure over the next five years to do that. We also wish to provide nursing care in our homes to meet the needs of the increasing number of very frail elderly people. This will also cost us more, but we need to change how we look after our older people as their needs change."

Councillor John Finnie, SNP Leader on the Council, said: "We came into this Administration recognising that this was a very controversial policy and in discussion with our Independent partners we have agreed that the Council needs to radically overhaul its strategy for caring for our older people.

"We have listened to what people have told us and these proposals are the result. We will not only commit the money to build and run these homes, we will increase our home care budget by £1 million per year in each of the next four years ~ starting now.

"As part of our commitment to building more affordable housing in the Highlands, we will make sure we include much-needed sheltered housing. This will also help older people, who are fit to do so, to stay in their own homes, where they want to be."

The Council will be asked not to proceed with detailed proposals from two bidders. The bidders have been informed of the intentions of the Administration to stop the procurement.

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