Round-the-clock care provided to residents at five sheltered accommodation facilities in Lancashire is to be replaced with a system of pre-planned overnight visits.
The move was agreed by Lancashire County Council’s cabinet after a review found that the majority of people living in the housing blocks did not currently need a 24 hour-a-day service.
Up to a third of of places at the units are reserved for those needing social care, in addition to the more general support offered by the housing schemes' landlords, and which is provided to all residents.
Out of 166 people living at the facilities - in Longridge, Freckleton, Thornton, Lancaster and Morecambe - 48 currently receive some element of daily care, but it is estimated that only three require help overnight.
A report presented to cabinet acknowledged that needs change over time and that all present and future night-time care requirements would be provided by roving staff who now operate across the county. Daytime care packages would be delivered as required, with no set hours for a care worker to be on site.
“Very little is provided other than planned care - what I call turning, toileting and tableting,” Conservative cabinet member for adults services, Graham Gooch, told members.
“We want people to be more independent and self sufficient, [rather than] having people on hand just in case.”
The change was dismissed by deputy leader of the Labour opposition, John Fillis, as “just another cut”. But County Cllr Gooch told him that he was criticising the previous Labour administration's own roving care service which was “brought in for this very purpose”.
The new arrangements will shave £644,000 off a £2.6m annual bill for providing care across a total of 14 sheltered accommodation schemes across the county. Twenty-four hour care will continue to be provided at the remaining eight facilities, although other savings have been agreed with providers.
The future service provided at one other scheme in Preston is currently being consulted upon, but it has already withdrawn a constant overnight presence.
The five sites where constant overnight care will be removed were not considered modern enough to be part of County Hall’s long-term vision for so-called “extra care” facilities - supported housing where care will be available around the clock to all residents.
The authority plans to create one extra care development in each district of Lancashire by 2025, offering a total of 1,000 places. Two centres - at Ormskirk and Whitworth - are already in operation and Chorley Council is independently providing a similar facility, Primrose Gardens, which is due to open in the spring.
Three in five sheltered housing residents who responded to a consultation into the overnight care changes disagreed with the plan. The most common reason cited was that a 24-hour presence provided reassurance in case of an emergency.
THE SHELTERED SCHEMES WERE 24-HOUR CARE WILL END
“Beck”, Lancaster, owned by Lancaster City Council
“Parkside”, Morecambe, owned by Lancaster City Council
“Torrentum”, Thornton, owned by Regenda
“Croft”, Freckleton, owned by Progress
“Plessington”, Longridge, owned by Mosscare St Vincent’s
“Molyneux Court”, Preston