Redcar council disputes that future of hundreds of care home residents put at risk in row over contracts (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DST to 80360 or email us
Negotiations completely broken down over future of care homes in Redcar area
A COUNCIL is disputing claims that the futures of hundreds of elderly and vulnerable people in east Cleveland have been left up in the air in a row over contracts.
Some care home operators in Redcar and Cleveland refused to sign a new contract after fees were frozen by the Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council for the fourth year running, claiming they do not have enough money to continue to provide high quality care.
The contract finished on August 26 and they say the elderly residents living in the affected homes are now effectively being funded by the homes themselves.
Operators say the council has delivered a "take it or leave it" ultimatum and are also concerned after it scrapped a quality assessment scheme.
They claim the council is not placing any new residents in the homes which have not signed the contract - something the council disputes.
The care homes in question come under the umbrella organisation Care North East Redcar and Cleveland.
"The Council's stance means the elderly of Redcar and Cleveland are being denied access to these quality homes," said a spokesman.
"This situation was not one of our making and is going to cause enormous worry to residents and their families.
"We have repeatedly tried, without success, to bring the council to the negotiating table and instead of talking to us, they embarked on legal action which cost local people in Redcar and Cleveland 200,000."
The spokesman said the terms of the new contract were such the affected providers had no choice but to refuse to sign it.
"We are committed to top quality care and if the council will not pay for that then we will not be able to provide it," the spokesman said.
Martin Green, Chief Executive of the English Community Care Association, claimed Redcar and Cleveland's older and vulnerable people were being treated as "second class citizens".
Responding to the claims tonight (Monday, September 23), Sheelagh Clarke, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Wellbeing, said a new contract was drawn up in accordance with the outcome of the judicial review.
"Of the borough's 40 providers 36 signed the new contract, which is 90 per cent, and the remaining four providers have since left the association," she said, adding that while some neighbouring authorities have increased their contribution towards the cost of elderly care by more than ten per cent, historically their fees were "substantially lower" than Redcar and Clevelands and remained lower despite this increase.
She said Redcar and Clevelands contributions remain one of the highest in the region "which demonstrates our commitment to funding high quality care."
The quality assessment scheme, she said, had been in use for a number of years and "had run its course as a useful assessment tool".
"We consulted with providers on a replacement scheme which is currently being piloted with full implementation expected next year," she said.
Rather than the council refusing to place anyone, she said: "It is the providers who are not willing to accept new placements on the terms now being offered by the council.
"We have a wide range of quality care home providers who have happily agreed to the new terms.
"However, significant issues have been identified with two of the four providers who have not signed the new contract and two care homes have been suspended from receiving new placements.
"Serious failings have been identified at these care homes and we are working with these providers to raise the standards to the necessary levels."
Comments are closed on this article.