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Caithness News Bulletins May 2006

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Highland Council - Older People Services

Care Homes In Caithness

Far Reaching Strategy Agreed in Care Home Review
The Highland Council  on Thursday 4th May 2006 agreed a far-reaching strategy for modernising care for older people, including doubling the number of houses for older people over the next five years, increasing home care and agreeing to invite tenders for modern care homes in Inverness, Tain, Muir of Ord, Fort William and Grantown.

At the same time, the Council agreed to prepare detailed contingency plans for each of the six homes – should the tender process fail to produce the quality of care required and value for money.  A suggestion that community arms-length companies could be established to run the individual homes is also to be investigated.

A guarantee was given that the six homes would remain in operation until any new building was in place.

Convener Alison Magee successfully moved the agreed way forward, seconded by Provost William Smith, Inverness.

She said: “I fully recognise the sensitivity of this important issue and the concern felt in our communities, but I hope we have found a positive way forward which will help us meet the future needs of the elderly in the Highlands.”

Councillor Margaret Davidson, Chairman of the Housing and Social Work Committee, echoed the Convener’s views. She said: “Councillors were clear in their  desire to provide modern care services for our older people, who want to stay in their own homes for as long as possible.  We will add to the enormous amount of information we have already gathered to ensure we provide a range of integrated care packages for older people.”

 At the close of a three-and-a-half hour debate, the Council agreed to invite independent care home providers to present proposals for providing 168 care home places as follows: -

  • 44 care places in Inverness, currently provided at Burnside and Ach-an-Eas;
  • 32 care places in Tain, currently provided at Duthac House;
  • 32 places in Muir of Ord, currently provided at Urray House;
  • 30 places in Fort William currently provided at Invernevis House; and
  • 30 places in Grantown, currently provided at Grant House, Grantown, and the Wade Centre, Kingussie.

 Tenderers will also be asked to bid for:-

  • 10 day care places at Tain, currently provided at Duthac House, Tain;
  • 15 places at Grantown, currently provided at Grant House, Grantown; and
  • 14 day care places at Fort William, currently provided at Invernevis House.

Earlier, the Council was told of plans to build 600 houses suitable for older people over the next five years as part of a mainstream housing development programme. The Council is working with Communities Scotland to significantly increase housing for older people, which has fallen below the national average.

The partnership working is a key element of the overall strategy in the Highlands to modernise services for older people, recognising the growing population of frail older people and the wishes of older people to live for as long as possible in their own homes, supported by a range of modern community care services.

A total of 31 locations throughout Highland has been identified as having the highest demand for houses for older people.

The Convener's motion to go ahead to tender defeated by 35 votes to 25 votes an amendment from Councillor Jimmy Gray, seconded by Councillor Christina Cumming, both Inverness, to defer for two or three months a decision pending further investigation and consultation with the public.

The motion defeated by 41 votes to 19 an amendment from Councillor Basil Dunlop, Grantown, seconded by Councillor Angus Gordon, Strathspey South, to remove Grant House, Grantown, from the tender process.

In Caithness Bayview Care Home was recently reopened after a major refurbishment.