Social Work Services Enter An Exciting New Phase

East Ayrshire Council’s Social Work Committee today made a decision on the future of services for older people in East Ayrshire which will revolutionise service provision.

The new strategy is the culmination of twelve months work and consultation, and will produce an important service which will much better meet the needs of our older population.

The strategy is designed around meeting the needs of our older people and utilising the best of our resources, physical, human and financial. The Council with partner providers will be focusing upon a whole system approach to care for older people.

The new strategy will take service provision in a very positive direction refocusing and expanding direct Council activity in supporting people to live in their own homes, allied with a commissioning strategy to purchase high quality Care Home supports primarily providing 24 hour nursing care from the independent sector.

Changes agreed in the Sheltered Housing service will be implemented over a 5 year period and will see some existing accommodation developed to meet the higher levels of need and a new focus on the delivery of joint services between Housing and Social Work in regards to the Council’s allocation policy. This will ensure that older people are receiving the correct level of care and that accommodation suits their needs. An enhanced mobile overnight service that will benefit a wide range of vulnerable people, not only sheltered housing tenants, will be introduced in place of the current sleepover arrangements.{mospagebreak}

Councillor Eric Jackson, Chair of the Social Work Committee said: “The unanimous cross party decisions taken today by the Social Work Committee will have far reaching and very positive effects upon service delivery. The new Care Home Strategy will see a refocus of investment however I can categorically state that services will not be withdrawn but will be redesigned to provide real community based alternatives which is what our older people want. The redesign will also help us exceed targets set out by the Scottish Executive for the provision of intensive supports to older people in the community.

“The Council recognises that there are some gaps in service provision and have agreed to the development of new community services including a new Resource Centre for older people in Kilmarnock to supplement the current planned developments in Auchinleck and Galston. We will also be working closely with Communities Scotland in relation to Supported Accommodation and Independent Sector providers in respect of Care Homes to provide the highest quality services across the full geographic area of the Council. This is no more than the older people in our communities deserve or would expect.

“Following the decision taken today it is anticipated that the refocus of service delivery, will lead to some reorganisation of existing services. Officers from the Council have initiated a programme to meet with individual service users and their families to discuss these changes. This is being done in a sensitive manner with the aim of causing the least disruption to service users.

“For our employees this will mean a change in how we develop and expand services to older people. The staff group is however dedicated and well qualified, we will work with them and the Trade Unions in this period of transition.

“This is a very positive time for the older people within our communities and the strategy is a big step towards the comprehensive delivery of services for the future. I look forward to helping to take these improvements forward as Chair of the Social Work Committee.”