Union’s fears as Warwickshire home care services are privatised

ELDERLY and disabled people in Warwickshire could suffer following a decision to partly privatise home care services in the county, a leading union has claimed.

Unison, which represents local government staff, claims private sector carers often fail to turn up to appointments, are poorly trained and cannot cope with complex needs.

A Unison spokesman said: “Home care services provided by Warwickshire County Council suffered a major blow when cabinet ignored all the objections that had been raised and pushed through plans to privatise the service, retaining only a small service in-house.”

He added that about 300 council-employed carers and occupational therapists faced an uncertain future ahead of the start of the changeover early next month.

Warwickshire County Council said the move was part of a transformation of its adult social care services amid pressures to save £2.6million this year and to cope with a growing elderly population.

Graeme Betts, strategic director for adult, health and community services, said: “The county council does not take such a decision lightly but it is vital that we modernise the service to respond to demographic and budgetary pressures.

“We want to maximise independence and achieve the best quality of life for older people in Warwickshire while delivering value for money for everyone.

“I would like to pay tribute to our in-house home care workers for their dedication and contribution to the service and we will make every effort to help with their redeployment.

“Our priority now is to support our customers and staff during the transition period.”

It is anticipated that the new service will have more than 150 carers and occupational therapists, with a further 60 staff redeployed within the county council.

The council said customers had the right to choose which company provided their care.