Release date: 16 November 2021
West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet has approved proposals that will enable two adult social care services in the county to be provided more effectively and help manage growing demand.
Cabinet members took the decisions as part of the county council’s priority commitment to support people to live independently for longer, minimising the need for long-term services while making the best use of resources.
This includes moving away from costly under-used residential and day centre buildings to developing support closer to where people live, including in their own homes, maximising the capacity to support vulnerable people.
The two proposals being taken forward are:
- To improve short-term care services in the Chichester and Bognor Regis areas, building on the success of a scheme which supports people in their own homes on discharge from hospital. We will also continue to offer short-term residential care through existing contracts with care providers, rather than a stay in a Marjorie Cobby House, a council-owned residential home in Selsey.
- To provide more flexibility and choice to older people and their families looking for day services, including respite care and community activities across West Sussex.
As part of these proposals, a decision was taken to close Marjorie Cobby House and six Shaw Healthcare day services, ensuring alternative support is provided more effectively and sustainably.
The decisions do not reduce services available to people, but instead offer support and care to people in alternative ways which still meets the individual needs of residents.
The decisions reflect the change in demand and the need to ensure that services are cost effective. This is critical as demographic pressures continue to increase across adult social care. The efficient use of all available resources will also help protect other vital services.
Cllr Amanda Jupp, Cabinet Member for Adults’ Services, said: “It is important that our services continue to meet and reflect the needs of those who use them.
“I believe that the decisions made today will give sustainable and longer-term options for people who need support now as well as those who may need it in the future.
“Both decisions followed widely promoted consultation with those who would be affected, together with organisations who support adults in our local communities.
“I would like to thank everyone who shared their views on these proposals as well as reassure them that Cabinet have taken this feedback into consideration when making these decisions.
“I truly believe that these decisions are in the best interests of people living in West Sussex, but I also acknowledge that they may not please everyone,” added Cllr Jupp.
Subject to both decisions clearing the county council’s normal ‘call-in’ period (25 November) then work will begin to implement them.
Short-term care services
To improve short-term care services in the Chichester and Bognor Regis areas Cabinet agreed to focus efforts on supporting more people in their own homes on discharge from hospital and offer short-term residential care through existing contracts with care providers, rather than a stay in a Marjorie Cobby House, a council-owned residential home in Selsey.
For those who do require short-term residential care services in the Chichester and Bognor Regis areas, places will be organised through a range of local care providers. This will include up to eight specialist reablement care places through Shaw Healthcare with whom the county council already has a long-standing contract.
The full number of beds available at Marjorie Cobby House in Selsey have not been used in recent years and a review of capacity and demand has identified that the need for all 34 beds no longer exists.
Additionally, the Marjorie Cobby House building is no longer suitable to accommodate people with more physical complex care needs without further and significant capital investment.
Many respondents to the recent consultation did not agree with the proposals and shared positive experiences of the service, emphasising its importance for the local community. However, Cabinet noted that whilst the facility is based in Selsey it is a service that is primarily used by people across the Chichester and Bognor Regis areas. It was agreed that the county council must take account of the increasing long-term needs of the local population and ensure services are cost effective.
There is a commitment that alternative arrangements provided will reflect what people told us is most important to them when receiving short-term care away from their homes. This includes, for example, regular visits from occupational therapists, rehabilitation support and accessible buildings where people can move around safely. It is also important that family and friends can visit regularly.
The Executive Director of Adults and Health will make the final decision on exactly when the service at Marjorie Cobby House will end. This will ensure short-term care is available during the winter period, if required, to support the current pressures faced by the local NHS and allow for a community-based service to be developed.
Shaw Healthcare Older People Day Services
To provide more flexibility and choice to older people and their families looking for day services including respite care and activities across West Sussex, Cabinet agreed not to reopen six Shaw Healthcare day services for older people.
Currently, day services commissioned from Shaw Healthcare remain closed, as they have been since the introduction of Covid-19 restrictions in March 2020. Those who were affected by the closures were offered alternative support throughout this period.
A review of the services prior to March 2021 found that they were under-used, running at 40% capacity, with insufficient demand for places, thus not representing good value for money.
Responses to the public consultation emphasised the importance of day services to people needing support as well as their carers. This included opportunities for regular social interaction outside the home and the provision of support for people with more complex needs. The views of respondents were carefully considered by the Cabinet within the context of the need to provide cost-effective services in the longer term.
Residents, together with their family and friend carers, will be offered more flexibility and choice on the long-term options available to them, including alternatives based in local communities. Many of these will be closer to people’s homes and reduce the need for them to travel longer distances.
Cabinet did acknowledge however that some individuals may still benefit from attending a day service and confirmed that places will be offered through the county council’s own day services.