£4.9 Million Home Care Shake-Up Unveiled

The details of a multi-million-pound shake-up of home care services across the Bath area are revealed today.

Bath and North East Somerset Council’s cabinet is poised to rubber-stamp a scheme which will see five independent companies given a key role in looking after the area’s elderly and disabled residents.

A report published today shows that contracts are set to be awarded to Agincare, Way Ahead, Care South, Care Watch and Somerset Care at Home.

The council says the shake-up will lead to better standards of home care.

Under the changes, the council’s own staff will manage the first six weeks of care before residents are given long-term care by the private companies in partnership with the council and Bath and North East Somerset Primary Care Trust.

About 100 people currently employed directly by the council will be transferred to one of the new independent companies.

Details of the proposals come as the council’s cabinet tries to push through an annual budget which will see home help costs rise by 74 per cent for some residents.

Councillor Vic Pritchard (Con, Chew Valley South), the council’s cabinet member for adult social services, said: “This step represents an exciting new beginning for home care services across the district.

“Historically, the council has received high levels of satisfaction with home care services whether provided in-house or externally. The cabinet intends to maintain and build upon existing high standards of care.

“Through the council working in partnership with the five companies and primary care trust we hope to offer services tailored to meet the care needs of our clients.

“The independent providers will complement each others services to deliver highly personalised packages of care. The changes will be implemented with the maximum possible sensitivity to allow people to maintain independence in their own homes.

“We view this reform as fundamental in promoting the independence of older people, which is a key priority in the cabinet’s vision for the area.”

Rhona MacDonald, chief executive of the primary care trust, said: “The PCT has been fully involved and worked very closely with the council on the home care proposals.

“As we care for more people in the community, we need to ensure that we have flexible and responsive home care services and these proposals would enable us to deliver this.”

Cllr Pritchard is set to give the proposals the final go-ahead before the end of the month.

If approved, the council says the changes will be carefully introduced following consultation with staff, unions, and service-users and their families.