Shaping the social care market
The Care Market in Solihull is diverse, with large and small organisations providing care at home (the preferred choice for most people with care needs), different types of accommodation with care, and a variety of community-based support services.
In recent years, the market for standard residential care has declined, and there has been a growth in more flexible and community-based solutions. Solihull’s Commissioning teams work closely with providers to help ensure that the care market is able to cope with increasing demand, and continues to provide people with choice, quality and value for money.
2017/18 priority: Embedding the new Care at Home framework
Last year, we started new ways of working with the organisations that provide care and support to people in their own homes. We appointed Nationwide, Universal and Firstpoint to support people to regain confidence and skills after a period of ill health or a fall, provide personal care, carry out specialist care for those who have more complex needs and offer respite for carers.
All three lead providers have worked hard in this first year to establish services that are responsive and of reliable quality. Solihull, like elsewhere in the country, has experienced workforce challenges, with recruitment and retention issues making it difficult for providers to find sufficient care workers to meet the rising levels of demand.
Nevertheless, all three organisations, supported by a number of other providers who deliver care when needed, strive to put quality at the centre of everything they do, and the Council continues to support and challenge them to continually improve.
For 2018, the plan is to move to the next phase of development of the contract, particularly around non-complex reablement, meeting the needs of people with poor mental health or autism, and increased stability of the care at home workforce.
2017/18 priority: New tenders for residential, nursing, homecare and extra care schemes
2017 saw the opening of Chelmunds Court, a new residential and nursing home in Solihull for people with dementia. With 63 beds, this increases the number of beds that the Council can use to support people who rely on the Council to help pay for their care and support, adding to contracts in place at Lyndon Croft, Silver Birches and St Giles Nursing Home.
Extra Care Housing is an alternative for many people to residential care, and is purpose built or adapted accommodation in which people have their own apartment where varying amounts of care and support can be offered and where some facilities and services are shared. The Council is also working with Upward Care and with Solihull Community Housing to increase the number of Extra Care Housing schemes in the Borough, one at Solihull Lodge, and the other in Chelmsley Wood. The schemes will both be opened for people to move into by the end of 2018.
2017/18 priority: Developing a social care workforce strategy to support the wider care and support market, and dealing with the shortage of social care nursing staff and direct care workers
There are over 5,000 adult social care workers in Solihull, with over 4,000 providing direct care, mostly in the independent sector. They have an average of nearly eight years' experience and over two thirds have been working in adult social care for at least three years. Nevertheless the need for social care workers is growing, and recruitment and retention is one of the biggest issues facing local providers, particularly for nurses to work in care homes.
The Council continues to work with providers to promote care as a career in order to raise the profile and attract the right people to the sector.