Clear Policies for Adult Social Care

This morning, I awoke to the sad news that another Suffolk Care Home has been put in to special measures by CQC.

The care home in question, Monmouth Court, has been treading water since 2011 with a consistent, if disappointing, “Requires Improvement” rating – periodically showing signs of minor progress by addressing some of the concerns raised at inspection, before lapsing again. That it has today been rated “Inadequate” serves not only to highlight the continuing crisis in Adult Care here in Suffolk, but also that the proactive involvement of the local authority is a necessity if we are to improve standards in our residential homes.

The administration at Suffolk County Council, however, is at best unclear and at worst complacent when it comes to Adult Social Care.

This seems to come from their dogmatic adherence to the market in all situations. That there could ever be an “Adult Social Care Market” seems strange to me, as any market depends on the buying and selling of commodities – with our County’s elderly, who deserve better than this, clearly considered the “commodity” in this regard.

And yet, despite being in power since 2005, this administration has no real policy on adult social care, besides selling it off.

At the September 2015 session of Full Council, the Labour Group put forward a motion calling for Suffolk County Council to stop placing elderly people in care homes rated “Inadequate”. This is something that should not be allowed anyway, but according to our research 5 individuals had been put in care homes after they had been rated “Inadequate” and 61 in care homes rated “Requires Improvement”.

The Conservatives, naturally, voted this motion down.

Whereas the Labour Group has a clear and proactive policy that no individual will be placed in an inadequate care home – and we pledge to ensure that all of Suffolk’s care homes are rated “Good” or higher within 5 years if voted in to administration – the Conservative stance is entirely unclear. They are convinced that the “Adult Social Care Market” will be our salvation, despite ample and growing evidence to the contrary.

Now that Monmouth Court has received its “Inadequate” rating, CQC inspectors have banned any new admissions. This is the policy that the County Council should pursue.

The County Council’s silence on this issue is as deafening as it is predictable. We call on the County Council to produce a meaningful County Care Plan with Care at the centre of its ethos.

Cllr Sarah Adams

Labour Group Spokesperson for Adult Care

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