Plymouth union calls on council to take a step back over privatisation of home care
A UNION leader has called on Plymouth City Council to rethink plans to outsource all its home care services for elderly and vulnerable residents.
The move, the final phase of a seven-year revolution in adult social care, will see the end of council-employed workers providing re-ablement services and home care for people with dementia.
Most domiciliary care in Plymouth is already provided by the private sector.
The union was responding to a report by the Government watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC), into home care services.
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Kevin Mason of the GMB union, which represents many care workers, said: "We wish the council to take a step back and really look at what they are going to be doing if they put this service out to the private sector.
"At the moment the in-house provision is absolutely first-rate, and we fear a drop in standards if it is out-sourced."
The CQC inspected 250 home care agencies, mostly private, and received the views of more than 4,600 people.
Inspectors visited 738 people in their own homes.
In its report it said it was most concerned about missed or late calls and inconsistent weekend services.
There was a lack of staff knowledge and skill, particularly about dementia.
The CQC concerned about safeguarding people who use services from abuse, and whistleblowing procedures.
A city council spokeswoman said: "The council ensures that all of the care providers it contracts provide a high standard of care."
She said 92 per cent of domiciliary care in the city was already provided by the independent sector.
"They are closely monitored and we meet with them, and the Care Quality Commission, on a regular basis.
"We work with all companies providing domiciliary care to help them make continual improvements, in particular in relation to training for staff around dementia care.
"Care staff across all agencies are monitored and are able to access training in relation to safeguarding vulnerable people from abuse and effective reporting procedures are in place.
"Any future contracts with agencies to provide a home care service will be managed and monitored by officers in the same way."