New company will run Norfolk care homes

More than 1400 people living in care homes across Norfolk have been assured they will receive the same level of service when a new company takes over running them.

In a bid to deal with the changing needs of an ageing population and more demands on social care services, Norse Care Ltd comes into existence and will be wholly owned by Norfolk County Council.

Management of the council’s 26 care homes and the care service within its 13 housing with care units will transfer across to Norse Care from today, along with all 1,650 staff employed by the service.

Those living in care accommodation currently managed by the county council have been told they will notice no changes to the care they receive as a result of the transfer.

Fees, living arrangements and the people who provide their care will remain the same.

Over the next 15 years Norse Care will invest in and replace the council’s current care accommodation.

Combined with the council’s work with independent providers, there will be an extra 2,500 places in housing with care schemes or care homes across the county.

The county council said the creation of Norse Care is a “major milestone” in the long-term plan to meet future demand for high quality care accommodation for older people in Norfolk.

The “Building a Better Future” strategy sets out plans to provide more housing with care schemes as well as some specialist care home places for people with severe dementia.

Council leader Derrick Murphy said: “Norse Care offers the best of both worlds – commercial know-how but with a strong public sector ethos, and the best means of retaining the skills of our highly regarded care staff.

“Our existing care accommodation has served us well but our buildings are becoming outdated, with small bedrooms, limited disabled access and few en-suite bathrooms.

“With a growing older population with changing needs and priorities, we are facing ever greater demands on our social care services.”

Tony Williams, Norse board member and county councillor with responsibility for commercial services, said: “Norse Care is being created with a strong commitment to meet the needs and expectations of Norfolk’s older people at its heart, and the plans to transform the care accommodation that have been developed with the County Council will help us to achieve this.

“The scale of the task means this is very much a long-term project that will take up to 15 years to accomplish. The views of residents, their relatives and staff will be vital in making these plans a successful reality, and they will be included and consulted before any changes are brought about.”