Lincolnshire County Council has hit back at fears about the standard of home care services and insisted proposed changes will be for the better.
Colin Mair, the UKIP leader on the County Council, raised a number of issues in an exclusive interview in the Horncastle News last week.
Coun Mair, who represents the Coningsby and Tattershall Castle ward, said lives were being put at risk and described the situation as a “national scandal.”
His comments led to several residents contacting the News and the vast majority shared his concerns.
It has also emerged the County Council has written to 3,500 people who rely on home care, outlining possible changes to the current system. At present, the County Council sub-contracts the service to around 70 providers.
However, reports suggest the council is planning to divide Lincolnshire into zones and award a home care contract to one ‘major provider’ in each zone.
Coun Mair confirmed those major providers will still be able to sub-contract work to smaller companies and he said that confirmed his concerns about the standard of care and how a potential myriad of companies would be monitored.
Coun Mair said he still had other issues about the council’s proposals but admitted cuts in Government funding were a massive problem.
He believes under-pressure care workers still won’t receive the minimum wage because they will only be paid for the time they spend with patients - not for travelling to appointments.
Patricia Bradwell, Executive Councillor for Adult Care and Services at the County Council, disputed many of Coun Mair’s claims.
She did admit the service was “stretched” in rural areas and was also under strain because of the on-going beds’ crisis in hospitals.
Coun Bradwell stressed the council was increasing spending on home care and insisted the proposed changes would lead to a better system.
She also maintained workers did receive at least the minimum national wage.
The council already spends £135m a year on adult home care although that figure will increase because of an aging population.
Coun Bradwell was supported by Pete Sidwick, chief commissioning officer for Adult Care in Lincolnshire.
He said: “Our aim is to ensure people continue to receive the services they need at a price that is fair to providers and affordable to the council.”
He pledged to keep any disruption to a minimum. New contracts with providers should be awarded in the summer.