By Debbie le Quesne

The masterplan for Cumbria . .. and elsewhere?

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I’d never head of the News & Star, but for those who are interested it’s a newspaper. Recently it broke a story of a masterplan for care in Cumbria County Council ‘s area.

It said the council was to carry out its own separate consultation on the future of care homes in Carlisle and Copeland.

Interesting. It also said the Success Regime’s long-term aim is to reduce hospital beds and care for more people at home but can social care cope?

The council wants to close a total of seven homes and replace them with a new £6 million home in each district, focusing on caring for those with the most specialist needs such as dementia. Overall its care beds would reduce, with more people instead being looked after at home.

I accept that a local authority run care homes are not viable as their carers have to be paid the same rate as refuse operatives. My question: How will this new venture be funded and at what cost to the general public?

Have I heard this one before?

How foolish I am, I genuinely though that health and social care were supposed to be working hand in glove, but this plan has all the makings of pushing more people into care in the community and that service is already stretched to the limit.

How desperate is this measure and how shortsighted.

I love the fact that people can remain independent longer, but for that to happen we need well-funded social care going into people’s homes.

Defending their position, Cumbria County Council says although the plans will see beds reduce none of those homes affected have high occupancy rates.

There’s a pledge on jobs too, with staff from the existing homes being transferred alongside current residents to the new centres.

This will make an interesting consultation period I’m sure. Already a

county councillor fears the overhaul of north and west Cumbria’s NHS will put extra pressure o care services.

Whitehaven councilor, Christine Wharrier, who previously worked in the NHS, called for more joined-up thinking.

The Success Regime’s long-term aim is to reduce hospital beds and care for more people at home, but Mrs Wharrier is worried social care will not be able to cope.

Of course, we do need larger care homes, but we don’t want factories or a mentality that views transfers of residents and staff like personnel being offered relocation deals after plant closures.



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