Council considers consultation proposals on older people’s services

After a wide-ranging 12-week consultation Leeds City Council has drafted proposals for the future of residential and day care services for older people in the city.

They were drawn up following successive government spending reviews that have placed major pressure on the council’s resources, causing it to review many of its existing services.

After detailed analysis of 754 responses, submissions, deputations and petitions signed by more than 13,700 people, the council’s original plans have been directly influenced and amended to address areas of greatest concern.

One of the most significant changes is that two residential homes that had been suggested for closure- Manorfield House and Primrose Hill- are recommended to remain open to continue to care for existing residents but with no new admissions.

Current residents would also be able to stay at a third home, Suffolk Court in Yeadon, with discussions to be held with the NHS about future conversion to an intermediate care centre. New admissions would be for people needing short-term rehabilitation.

These changes from the original proposals for closure of the three homes are aimed at addressing families’ concerns that there are currently no suitable alternative residential places are available within the local area.

Councillors will be asked to agree to these recommendations, along with proposals to close a further four homes and retain another, pending interest from a local community group, at their executive board meeting on September 4. They will also be asked to approve plans to revise the use of four day centre buildings and provide their services elsewhere.

Councillor Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council’s executive member for adult social care, said:

“At the very heart of this review is the welfare of our older people: the entire process has been informed by working out what will be best for them in the face of having to make incredibly difficult decisions due to massive budget cuts.

“We have said all along that we would listen to and take account of the views we heard- and we have.

“Where residents may have to move they will not be financially disadvantaged and every single person affected will have his or her own support team to ensure their needs are met, their own choice is exercised and the move is as smooth as possible.”

If the executive board agrees to the recommendations it would mean the following changes for residential services:

• the closure of Amberton Court, Burley Willows, Fairview and Musgrave Court with reinvestment in specialist housing for older people

• The closure of Burley Willows (and attached day centre) and future use of the site for extra care housing;

• Suffolk Court to be re-designated in time to offer transitional care and to eventually convert to a specialist intermediate care centre;

• Manorfield House and Primrose Hill to stay open for existing residents;

• Home Lea House to remain open as talks start with interested community groups about its use for residential care.

Proposals for day services are:

• Closing Doreen Hamilton, Naburn Court and Queenswood Drive centres but working with local neighbourhood networks and community groups that have expressed interest in their possible use;

• Closing Burley Willows (and the attached residential home) with the future development of the site for extra care housing.

All residents needing a new placement will be fully supported by a named social worker to guide them through the move at their own pace and help them settle them into their new home. People who use day centres will also be allocated a named worker to help them choose their new day care. Everything possible will be done to ensure groups of friends, particularly those in day centres, will be able to stay together and be supported by staff they know and trust.

Time will be taken to ensure all preparations are in place in advance to ensure they are as comfortable as possible. This echoes the first phase of the review of services in 2011 after which a significant number of residents were moved with the minimum of disruption to them.

In the past few years there has been a major shift, both nationally and locally, towards providing more personalised services for older people, allowing them more choice over how they live.

This is set against the backdrop of unprecedented budget cuts, changing demographics with an expansion in the number of older people and greater demands on funds for social care from other adult groups such as those with learning disabilities.

Leeds City Council’s Better Lives for Older People programme is responding to all these challenges and changing expectations by encouraging the development of all types of housing and accommodation for older people where most needed.

It also involves investing in assistive technology, along with reablement support to rebuild confidence in independent living skills. This approach is combined with investment in neighbourhood networks and new services such as the Holt Park Active wellbeing centre to help older people stay independent for longer.

An increasingly-ageing building stock has also meant that many existing residential homes and day care centres would need a great deal of investment for future needs yet there is not the cash available to upgrade them.

In Leeds the majority of care homes are already provided by the independent sector and demand for residential care is expected to fall, with those who do need it requiring a more specialist approach such as dementia care and nursing.

Meanwhile, day services are much more flexible with many users already benefitting from community-based activities. There are many good quality locally-based alternative services available and local interest in keeping the council-run centres for community use is welcomed.

The Holt Park Active centre is also due to open in October and some of the people currently attending day centres proposed for closure would be welcome to transfer to attend an expanded number of activities aimed at older people there. It will be jointly run by the council’s sport and active lifestyles and adult social care sections and will provide integrated social care, fitness and leisure services.

The full report can be viewed on the council’s website at www.leeds.gov.uk or by going direct to this page and downloading the meeting papers Executive Board 4 September

Notes to editors

There are 116,600 people over the age of 65 living in Leeds, representing 14.6% of the overall population of the city. This figure will increase to 129,800 by 2020 (15.3% of population) and by 2030 to 153,800 (16.9% of population).

A growing number of older people are now choosing to live in their own homes for longer, meaning that better choice and control over their local services is increasingly important.

All adults with social care needs are entitled to self-directed support provided through a personal budget to help with their daily tasks and social activities, so they can enjoy the same freedom, choice and control as the rest of society. Currently around 61% of Leeds residents receiving a community care service or carer specific service use this system.

The development of Holt Park Active in the west of the city will provide a wide range of inclusive activities and facilities for people to be active, socialise and learn new skills as an alternative to a traditional day centre. Holt Park Active is the result of a successful bid made by the council for £28.894m of government private finance initiative credits (PFI) from the Department of Health.

Neighbourhood network schemes are community based to help enable older people to live independently. They help to reduce social isolation, provide opportunities for volunteering, offer advice and information, and promote health and wellbeing to their customers. The council continues to provide funding and support to 40 neighbourhood network schemes in Leeds to help them expand their work to support a wider range of older people, including those with more complex needs.

For media enquiries please contact:

Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office, 0113- 224 3335

Email donna.cox@leeds.gov.uk