Concerns raised over £1.6m squeeze on residential care

Concerns have been raised over plans by Bath and North East Somerset Council to cut over £1.6 million from how much it spends on residential and nursing care for elderly and vulnerable residents.

As part of its budget plans for the next year, the Lib Dem-run council plans to squeeze the additional money out of its contracts with private residential care providers.

However, Conservative councillors have warned that this level of saving will prove difficult to achieve in the space of one year if quality of care is to be maintained. Conservatives have said that the council needs to be careful when reducing spending on residential care, particularly in the wake of the warning given to one of the largest residential care providers in the area, Rosewell Care Home, by the Care Quality Commission.

Conservatives have said that the council should undertake negotiations with the area’s residential care providers to ascertain what savings can be achieved and over what timeframe before deciding to cut £1.6 million from its care budget.

Councillor Vic Pritchard, the Conservative Shadow Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, said:

“The level of savings the council wants to make by cutting funding for residential care for elderly and vulnerable residents has to be of major concern. Cutting over £1.6 million from the amount spent on residential care is a huge amount of money to try and save in just one year. We think the council should look at this cut again and think the implications through more carefully.

“Of course it is preferable to enable people to be cared for in their own home wherever possible, and this will provide for future savings, but this is not achievable in just one year.

“There is only so much money you can squeeze out of private care providers before there is an impact on the quality of service. It would be better for the council to negotiate its contracts with its residential care providers to ascertain how much it can feasibly save before agreeing this budget cut.”