Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
Old people’s homes could fill gap in respite care
EMPTY beds in York’s elderly people’s homes could be used for respite care through attempts to plug a multimillion-pound hole in the city’s care budget.
New figures have revealed City of York Council is facing a £2.2 million adult social-services overspend this year as costs and demand spiral, with urgent plans to make savings having been drawn up.
The authority says vacant beds in old people’s homes may now be used “whenever possible” for respite-care purposes, which allow carers to have short-term breaks from their duties.
A report which will go before its health overview and scrutiny committee next week said the council would also consider delaying any “planned investment in new or revised services” for care, although specific schemes were not mentioned.
A vacancy freeze within the adult social services section is being strictly enforced, including relief staff and short-term cover.
The report, by head of finance Richard Hartle and performance and improvement manager Mike Richardson, said extra spending will only be allowed to meet statutory obligations or to avoid vulnerable people being affected.
It admitted the savings proposals may have an impact on residents and services, and that charges are being reviewed.
A 2012/13 overspend of almost £3.8 million was predicted before the cost-cutting measures totalling £1.57 million were proposed.
The council said the number of over-85s in York rose by more than 30 per cent between 2001 and 2011 and is expected to increase by another 21 per cent by 2020, meaning more people having complex and more costly care needs for longer periods.
The report said patients were leaving hospital, on average, seven days earlier, meaning they required social care for longer.
It said: “Progress in one part of the system brings pressure in other parts, and discussions are taking place with GP commissioners and the hospital trust to consider this problem.
“Local health provision is under strain, and increasingly social care is being asked to support people who would previously have received healthcare support. Using elderly people’s homes for respite care would help to prevent places being bought from external firms.”
The report also said care home admissions in York were fairly stable, but residents were needing more intensive support, leading to higher costs.