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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 26 June 2008
Why can’t the council run the care homes?

• THE final stage of consultation on Homes for Older People has crept by without much publicity.

It is a very important stage, as its title is Who should own and run our future care homes?
We have heard of elaborate plans to close Charlie Ratchford, St Margaret’s, Branch Hill, Wellesley Road, Ingestre Road, and “reconfigure” them in a variety of confusing ways. Only now is the question asked: “Who should own and run these homes?”
The council wants to “go into partnership with a charity, private or not-for-profit organisation to build the new care homes, manage them and provide the care services”. Why is the word “private” placed between “charity” and “not-for-profit”, as if it is a similar type of organisation?
And what is wrong with the council running its own care homes, as it has for many years?
The praise given to Wellesley Road, Ingestre Road, Branch Hill and St Margaret’s over the years has been for the reliable and experienced staff who have continued to work in these homes, and provide the vital continuity of care that everyone wants in their later years.
The Liberal Democrat/Tory council mess with this at their peril. They look to be in danger of throwing away the legacy of high-quality care in favour of saving a few quid. Please try to tell them they have got it wrong!
A response to the consultation sent now will not be too late.
Write to Sophie Martin, Housing and Adult Social Care Directorate, 79 Camden Road, NW1 9ES, and Councillor Martin Davies, Camden Town Hall, Judd Street, WC1H 9JE.
Labour, Bloomsbury ward

• THANKS to those residents, relatives, staff and others who were involved in the recent consultation on the future of Camden’s care homes and those who completed a questionnaire.

Camden Council is committed to delivering high quality homes and care for older and frailer Camden residents and it was important to ensure that we talked to people about these proposals and hear their views.
The council’s serving older people strategy aims to improve care for older people and one of its key aims is to help people remain living independently for longer within their own homes – close to family, friends and support. These proposals will see over £30 million invested in building two new care homes, extra care housing and a new Charlie Ratchford resource centre over the next five years. This is an exciting opportunity and will improve the quality of life for hundreds of our most vulnerable residents, both now and in future.
These plans will ensure that residents have more choice and independence about how they live their lives. aMore importantly, it will mean care homes where residents can receive nursing care without having to move, and extra care housing that gives residents their own front door with the security and support of care staff on site.
The recent consultation set out the different options for the ownership and management of care homes in the future.
The council’s preferred option is that it continues to own the land and new buildings and appoints a partner to build, manage and provide the care in the new homes for a period of time. This option appears to present the best balance of quality and continuity of care, value for money, control and ownership by the council of all the options.
I recognise and value the contribution of staff in making the existing care homes good places to live and want to ensure that we continue to work with staff to get the new arrangements right, whichever option is agreed.
The consultation results and the views of the people who came to the public meetings will be put before the executive on July 23 2008 for a decision to be made.
I welcome the views expressed about the various options as the comments are very important to ensuring that we get the buildings and care provided in them right for us all in the future.
Executive Member for Adult Social Care

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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