We could build new care homes

PRIVATE care home companies would be prepared to build new homes to accommodate Fife Council’s care places if the right agreements were in place.

Old folks home bosses have suggested that the decision made by the Council recently to privatise their care home places and close their ten homes, could allow companies to expand.

Around three hundred residents in the Council’s homes would require to be rehomed under the plans, which are due to be challenged in a special meeting of Fife Council next week.

Colin Smart, chief executive of Kingdom Care homes, said that Council backing would mean banks would be more likely to get behind new care homes projects.

Opportunity

He said: “From a business perspective the private sector welcomes the opportunity to become involved with the Council.

“However, there’s not many in the private sector that could build new homes. We would need some sort of guarantee from the Council that they would enter into a partnership agreement with us.”

Mr Smart also said that quality in the private sector was as good as in the public sector.

He added: “We answer to the same Care Commission as they do. We have a very active training company we use to train all our staff.

“Generally speaking the standards are very high in Fife.”

Rona Laing, head of older people’s services, said that care home operators in the private and not for profit sector had been consulted before the report went to committee at the beginning of the month.

Discussions

She added: “Our priority at this stage is to hold discussions with colleagues, service users and their families with meetings being held all last week and over the course of the next fortnight.”

Rachel Payne, Fife chairman of Scottish Care, said that the independent sector already provide 70 per cent of care in Scotland, and were the only provider of nursing care in Fife.

She added: “There is already additional capacity in Fife to look after those people who currently live in the local authority homes that are due to close and new homes will also open.”

“Spending £40m to replace the council homes is a huge cost to the public purse in these times of austerity, whereas the independent sector are capable of providing nursing care at approximately two thirds of the cost of which local authority provides residential care.”