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Council recommended not to proceed with Care Homes

Issued: 17 Jun 2010

Given the worsening financial situation, and likely further reductions in Government funding, Highland Councillors are being advised that it is not now viable to build new care homes in Fort William, Grantown, Inverness, Muir of Ord and Tain - which would cost an additional £30 million.

A report being presented to the next meeting of the Council on Thursday 24 June stresses that if the new homes do not proceed, there will be no immediate impact on the existing homes which the Council run in these communities.

The report says the local challenges are all different, and there is unlikely to be a 'one-size fits all' way forward. In localities future options could include:

* investing in necessary minor works and maintenance, perhaps with a reduction in capacity;

* refurbishment;

* local partnership opportunities with NHS Highland, 3rd sector or private providers; and

* alternative models of care in line with the Joint Community Care Plan, including enhanced home care, intensive day care, sheltered housing or housing with support.

* purchasing places from the independent sector, with additional quality assurance;

Before any decision is taken on future provision the report advises there should be further consultation with local elected members and interested parties, and reports will be presented to the Housing and Social Work Committee.

At their last meeting on 13 May, the Council was advised that the construction of five new homes did not constitute best value for the Council as the services could be provided as effectively and significantly cheaper by the independent sector.

This would free available capital funding for other priority council building projects, such as schools and roads and flood prevention.

At the last meeting it was also agreed that the public be asked for their views on the business cases. The large majority of views submitted did not focus on the proposed new builds, but were in relation to, and in support of, the continued operation of the existing establishments.

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