Council chiefs have reiterated their commitment to supporting older people as the future of hundreds of care staff and its last specialist care homes hang in the balance.
The comments come after Leeds City Council unveiled proposals to shut residential homes in Morley, Armley and Seacroft – affecting 69 residents – and their associated day centres as well as cutting council-run ‘home care’ jobs.
As many as 340 care home, day centre and home care positions are under threat, as adult social services seeks permission to consult with residents over the future of the facilities at a meeting of the council’s executive board next Wednesday.
It is expected that a three-month consultation will start in January before a report is developed this summer. The cuts are intended to save a total of £12million over the next four years.
Coun Adam Ogilvie, the council’s executive member of adult social care, claims the potential closures are necessary to both balance the books and better meet the needs of residents.
He told the YEP: “It’s our plan for the next four years for our remaining in-house services, recognising this financial pressure and the ageing population, which is good, but that brings with it its own pressures.
“We have an over-supply of residential beds in the city and demand for our day services is falling. We want to provide more services that enable people to do more while living in their own homes. Adult social care remains a very important priority.”
He said the move would see efforts focused more on commissioning quality private sector carers and homes as well as investing in new community facilities that can support older people such as the South Leeds Independence Centre.
As part of the council’s Better Lives Strategy, Siegen Manor in Morley, Middlecross in Armley and The Green in Seacroft would close along with their associated day centres. Around 240 council home care staff, who help residents living in their own homes get dressed, washed and fed, are among those to be offered alternative positions or an ‘early leavers’ redundancy package.
The GMB union has attacked the council’s plans, which would see a third raft of care home closure consultations in recent years, stating that the exercises only serve to cause “anguish for staff and residents”.
Dennis Holmes, the council’s interim director of adult social services, said: “We are absolutely committed through this period of consultation to deal with these periods of uncertainty with absolute care.”
The review comes in a climate of central Government cuts which have left Leeds City Council searching for £48m of savings this year. Leeds’s adult social care budget alone has been reduced by £30m over recent years.
Mr Holmes added: “The council is still committed to independent home care and is still fulfilling its responsibilities.”