01 April 2010

The transformation of dementia care in the county has taken a step forward following a successful application for £52 million of PFI cash by Northamptonshire County Council.

The council’s expression of interest for PFI money has been accepted by the Department of Health and PFI credits to the value of £52 million have been provisionally allocated.

The council is now submitting an outline business case and if this is agreed by the government, the money will be used to increase the provision of dementia care in Northamptonshire.

The project will see the county continue its move away from providing old-fashioned residential care home services to allow more people to remain living at home, within their local communities. This is in line with the council’s strategy published last year: Transforming Accommodation-based Care for Older People in Northamptonshire.

At the same time the strategy was published, a consultation into the future of the ten remaining council-owned care homes was launched. The outcome of this consultation saw a variety of outcomes for the homes, including the closure of those care homes which are no longer fit for purpose over the next three years as well as the development of extra care facilities and specialist high-quality dementia care home services.

Councillor Robin Brown, county council cabinet member for health and adult social services said: “This is wonderful news for the people of Northamptonshire. If our application for £52 million PFI money is fully approved by the government, we will be able to provide more high-quality, local, extra care and dementia care to meet future requirements to ensure people receive the support they need to help them live their lives in the way that they choose.

“It is no secret that we are facing the challenge of an increasing number of older people in the county, with predictions that there will be approximately double the number of people aged over 85 living in the county by 2025 – from 13,200 to 25,200.

“People have told us what they want for their future – that is, to remain at home or in specialist housing, rather than be admitted to care homes. We are committed to making this a reality and last year published our strategy laying out how we plan to achieve this. The PFI money will help make this vision a reality.”

The PFI funding will mean the development of 200 new places in Northampton, Daventry and South Northants district council areas as well as a minimum of 160 extra care places to help more people live as tenants in their own homes.

It is expected that the council will submit the outline business case to the government for consideration in late 2010, with procurement in 2011, contracts awarded in 2012, with a target date for project completion in 2015 and the last of the homes closing in 2016.

Additional information:

The strategy - Transforming Accommodation-based Care for Older People in Northamptonshire – was approved by cabinet on 14 July 2009. The intention of the strategy is to:

  • Improve the quality of residential and nursing care
  • Ensure a sufficient supply of high quality nursing and residential care for older people.
  • Ensure services are developed to enable older people to be supported in their own homes wherever possible.
  • Through the implementation of improved re-ablement and prevention services, reduce the number of physically frail older people who use residential care services.
  • Ensure the right balance of supply in each locality and stimulate the development of extra care housing.

At the same time the strategy was published, a consultation into the future of the ten remaining council-owned care homes was launched. Although the homes have delivered a good or excellent standard of care, the buildings and physical environment are insufficient to meet the needs and aspirations of future residents.

Following the consultation, cabinet agreed plans for the ten care homes based around four key approaches:

  • Working in partnership to develop sheltered housing with extra care.
  • Redeveloping those care facilities that are able to be improved so that they can provide high-quality dementia care and exploring possibility of creating a new local authority trading company to manage them.
  • Closing those homes where the buildings cannot be substantially improved to meet the needs of older people in the future (Hemmingwell Lodge; Lakeview House; Cotswold House; the Grange and Evelyn Wright).
  • Seeking external investment for the county to make this new model affordable.
  • These developments relate to services in Northampton, Daventry and South Northants. The council has previously worked in partnership with SHAW homes to redevelop former council-owned homes in other parts of county resulting in four newly built homes and two homes extensively modernised and improved.