Devon County Council are closing 20 care homes, evicting 260 elderly people, many sick, disabled or vulnerable, in the name of saving you some council tax. We answer your questions here.
According to DCC, it costs too much to keep residents in their homes compared with paying the private sector to do it. The main reason given by DCC for this cost disparity is that DCC have allowed care home staff wages to become grossly inflated. According to us, and lots of other people, DCC have a desire to close these homes on political grounds and have made little or no effort to make them more cost-effective.
What’s happening to all the residents?
They’re being ‘transitioned’ to new homes. Allegedly they’ll only be put where they’re happy to be put, but free spaces in Devon are limited and DCC are impatient to close the homes. We doubt that anyone will be happy to be moved at all. For most residents it’s a case of selecting the least worst option.
Didn’t the last council (Liberal Democrat) look at doing this as well?
Not exactly. They tried to sell the care homes as a going concern to a private company. There’s an argument that local government shouldn’t be in the business of directly providing care – it’s certainly arguable. At least selling off the homes allows residents to remain in their homes and would keep most of the staff. Much better than evicting all residents and making the staff redundant.
Isn’t anyone interested in buying them now?
According to a Freedom of Information request, DCC received 11 expressions of interest in the current care homes since the closure proposal was announced. They have apparently failed to follow any of these up.