SOCIAL care for adults in Liverpool is set to get a £30 million boost with plans for three new centres and improved accommodation for people with learning disabilities moving ahead.
A report approved by the Cabinet recommends pushing ahead with plans for three, 60 bed flexible facilities that will open by 2020 in the north, south and central areas of the city, providing state-of-the art accommodation and care for people living with dementia, as well as those with other long term residential and nursing care needs.
They will help reduce the number of people unnecessarily delayed in hospital following NHS treatment by getting and improve their experience of health and social care services by driving up quality standards.
They will be flexible step-up, step-down facilities, meaning they can be used to support people with lower level needs who would otherwise end up in hospital, as well as providing intermediate care to help get people out of hospital quicker.
The city council already spends almost £50 million a year on residential and nursing care, plus a further £11 million on dementia and memory loss services. It has shielded social care as much as it can from the cuts in its funding from central Government since 2010.
The first new centre will be at the Venmore Rehabilitation Hub in Anfield, opening in summer 2019. The existing 24 bed stroke service will be relocated to a new, larger 35 bed facility on Townsend Lane, opening in spring 2019.
A second will be on disused playing fields at the former Parklands High School, close to Speke district centre, opening in autumn 2019.
And a final decision on a third site is expected soon, with completion due in spring 2020.
The new hubs will have en-suite bedrooms, areas for therapy and socialising, dining facilities and gardens.
In addition, Besford House in Gateacre – three bungalows for adults with learning disabilities and autism – will be refurbished later this year and the city council is in the final stages of arranging a lease for Alternative Futures to run the facility.
The investment in the hubs is part of a commitment by the council to meet the rising demand for dementia care services, as well as increased need for quality respite facilities for carers by 2020.
The council is borrowing the money to build the centres with the repayments covered by income from the leases on each site, while Besford House is being refurbished using an £850k grant from NHS England.
Cabinet member for adult social care and health, Cllr Paul Brant, said: “We have invested heavily in creating new social care hubs across the city in recent years, but more people are living longer and we need to make sure we have sufficient capacity in the social care system to meet the needs of people with dementia and other long-term care needs.
“This is against a backdrop of rising demand, massive cuts to our budget from central Government – £444 million between 2010 and 2020 – and increasing pressure on the NHS.
“The facilities we are creating will help ease pressure on other, areas of the NHS which are under constant strain such as hospitals where beds are far more costly. Importantly, they will save the public purse money by ensuring that people aren’t tying up more expensive hospital beds.
“We have been careful to make sure that they are flexible facilities that can meet surges in demand and help to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions and delays in ward discharges.
“Separately, we are committing to the future of Besford House, improving it to make sure that adults with learning disabilities and autism have good quality accommodation to live in.”
The need for increased capacity in residential and nursing dementia care homes is due to an increasingly ageing population, which means that demand is expected to exceed the current market supply by 2020.
An estimated 1,300 people are currently in commissioned dementia placements, a figure than represents nearly 60% of all residential social care admissions for people aged over 65.
Shaw healthcare was selected as the preferred provider for the dementia hubs project last year following a competitive tender process that also involved the employee-owned company signing up to the Liverpool Social Value Charter.
Over the duration of the contract, Shaw healthcare will develop skills and training programmes in conjunction with local colleges, work with Job Centre Plus to offer local employment opportunities, create work placements and apprenticeships across all facilities and deliver on a commitment to the procurement of goods and services through local companies.
Suzanne Hughes, deputy CEO of Shaw healthcare, said: “The visualisations are fantastic and really bring the project to life. The ergonomic considerations factored into the architecture means that those who use the service are in the ideal environment to receive the best person-centred care possible.
“We are looking forward to delivering high quality care to the people of Liverpool that supports our values of wellness, happiness and kindness.”
Planning consent is being secured for the three facilities, to a future-proofed, dementia-friendly specification. Post construction, the council will enter into a 25-year lease agreement with Shaw healthcare to manage the care services provided at each location.