Care homes to benefit from £2m funding

The Oaks Private Residential was the last home to be rated as inadequate

The Oaks Private Residential was the last home to be rated as inadequate

Care homes in the borough are in line to benefit from £2m cash injection from the town hall.

Wigan Council’s cabinet has approved plans for the creation of an innovation fund, which will free up money from its reserves to pay for extra training and technology that it hopes will help transform the industry.

It comes after a string of failing homes in Wigan were identified by health regulator the Care Quality Commission, with six having been rated as inadequate since the beginning of the year.

One, Westwood Lodge in Pemberton, has since been re-inspected and improved its rating to requires improvement, and the council has said it is working closely with the failing homes to improve standards.

In each case, staffing issues were deemed to be insufficient and in some cases training fell short of the expected standard, leading to issues with the management of medicines and record keeping.

The report to cabinet outlines: “The key risk is that care home fees are insufficient to meet the needs of the market, putting the quality and sufficiency of supply at risk and/or the council at risk of legal challenge.

“This has been mitigated through proactive engagement and consultation with care home providers to understand local conditions and cost pressures and ensuring this informs the innovative market transformation proposals outlined within this report.”

Cabinet has previously approved a five per cent increase in the funding the council pays care homes for each place, but this was largely to cover the introduction of the National Living Wage, which was introduced in April.

The report reads: “The agreed five per cent settlement meets the immediate cost pressure but there remains a requirement for longer term transformation and reform identified at both local and Greater Manchester level.

“The radical reform of Adult Social Care will deliver the triple win of valued and fulfilling lives for residents, significant cashable savings and reduction in future demand across the health and social care economy.”

It goes on to say it will contribute to the growth and skills agenda through the upskilling of entry levels jobs and shift of current low pay, zero hour culture within care work to one of nourishing and rewarding employment.

The innovation fund will allow the borough’s residential and nursing homes to bid for projects that will improve the quality and capacity of care provided.

This would see extra funding for apprenticeships, training and development for existing staff.

The council hopes it will also improve experiences for residents through programmes such as creating reminiscence pods which offer calming and therapeutic environments for people with dementia.

It will also help to enhance the funding available to care providers in the face of increasing needs with an aging population with more complex needs.

A report for cabinet outlines how the fund will be made available over a three year period, with £1m up for grabs in 2016/17, £0.75m in 2017/18 and the remaining £0.25m in 2018/19.

Coun Keith Cunliffe, portfolio holder for adult social care and health, said: “When we launched The Deal for Adult Social Care and Health our priority was to give everyone the opportunity to retain their independence and connect into the community while experiencing the highest standards of care.

“This has already brought great success through our work to focus on the person by giving people the chance to enjoy their passions.

“This new fund will help to further improve the services available to residents and make sure the needs of everyone can be met through innovative working.”