AN “ambitious” public sector partnership could provide nursing care to the “most vulnerable” in Gwynedd.
The Gwynedd Council cabinet has agreed to develop a partnership with the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.
Early plans for the “innovative scheme” for a public sector nursing home placement partnership in the county, was approved on Tuesday.
It could eventually see the provision of public sector nursing home placements within Gwynedd – putting the county “at the forefront of nursing care on a national level.”
The site of the former Polish Nursing Home at Penrhos near Pwllheli has been mooted as one potential site for possible development, the proposed project goes ahead.
The Health Board confirmed “detailed discussions” would now be held to explore how both partners could work together.
The council’s cabinet members had been asked to approve ‘a case for change’ and for it adults, health and wellbeing department to present an outline strategic business case, by October 22.
Councillor Dilwyn Morgan cabinet member for adults, health and wellbeing said he was “very enthusiastic” for the scheme,but also warned “there was a lengthy journey ahead.”
He thanked Morwenna Edwards, corporate director, who brought the issued forward in what was her last council meeting in her role.
The meeting heard how Gwynedd Council provided residential care to 50% of its entire provision, independent sector provided the rest.
Due to Government legal constraints – now changing – it had not been possible for Local Authorities to provide nursing care home provision and which was operated by the independent sector.
This had left the external market to provide care to its most “vulnerable population.”
The number of places available was “fewer than needed at any time,” the meeting heard
“Being dependent on market forces can put our vulnerable residents in a precarious situation – I have seen with my own eyes the anxiety caused if a private nursing homes ceases trading at short notice.” Cllr Morgan said.
Morwenna Edwards said:
“If you had asked me what I wanted to get on the agenda before I leave, this would have been one of them.
“One of our most important dutes is to look after our most vulnerable in our communities.
“It was more and more prominent over the past two years that this part of this provision made it nearly impossible for us to provide the best care.”
It was hoped the plans would “enhance and ensure” better stability for the future nursing home provision in Gwynedd.
Cllr Craig ab Iago supported the plan “100 percent” and “was very proud of the work done to bring the idea forward, especially by Cllr Morgan.” He said.
Nia Wyn Jeffreys, chairing the meeting, said the scheme was “innovative and exciting,” and that the council would be “leading the way.”
Her words were echoed by the chief executive Dafydd Gibbard who said “We can see a way forward with this, a lot of other local authorities will want to do this.”
The proposal was to approve the case for change, to present the outline business case for the public sector partnership, and was agreed.
In a statement afterwards, Cllr Morgan said:
“I am delighted that the Council Cabinet has approved these radical recommendations to form a partnership with our Health Board colleagues to consider our role as providers of nursing care as part of a wider market.
“In the past it has not been possible for public bodies to provide nursing care within care homes.
“Sadly, this has meant that the Council and the Health Board have been unable to step in to help tackle problems of capacity which have impacted negatively on our residents.
“These problems include delays for our residents when leaving hospital and for some residents the trauma of having to receive nursing care far away from friends and family.
“This lack of provision has often been most acutely felt in our more rural areas.
“If successful, our plans will bring stability to the local nursing care sector, provide flexibility in emergencies when needs change swiftly and reduce the risks for the Council and Health Board.”
“We look forward to working with colleagues at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board on this exciting initiative, it has the potential to place Gwynedd at the forefront of nursing care on a national level.”
Jo Whitehead, Chief Executive at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, added:
“We are pleased to be working with Gwynedd Council on this proposal to provide nursing home provision in the county.
“Detailed planning will be required for this initiative and trying to recruit staff is very challenging for the majority of care providers in Gwynedd.
“We are in the process of discussing options with local universities who provide nursing courses as well as looking at creating opportunities for our nursing staff already working in the Health Board.”