Agenda item

Developing Care Markets Bedded Care Strategy


15.1     Debbie Endersby (Head of Strategic Commissioning) and Sophie Permain (Supply Development Manager) provided the Committee with a presentation which included a summary of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulated care services in East Sussex and an overview of current demands and service challenges.  Set out below is a summary of the key points discussed by the Committee:


  • Block Booking.  In response to a question regarding ‘block booking’, the Department confirmed that it does ‘block contract book’ beds with a number of nursing homes in East Sussex.  The bookings are made as part of the Department’s ‘Discharge To Assess (D2A)/Home First’ pathway.   Where possible the D2A pathway aims to avoid unnecessary admissions to hospital, and where an admission is necessary, to ensure that people are discharged as soon as is safe and practical, back to their own homes or to a D2A bed to have their assessments and services arranged outside of hospital. The number of discharge to assess beds varies throughout the year, with approximately 90 beds in use at present.  


  • Vaccination of care home workers: The Committee discussed the potential impact of vaccination legislation which requires all care home staff to be vaccinated against Covid-19 by November 2021.  More specifically, the Committee asked for clarification regarding what steps are being taken to minimise the impact on care home clients if significant numbers of staff lose their jobs because they have refused to be vaccinated.   In response Members were informed that in terms of directly provided care services the number of staff that have not been vaccinated currently stands at only two. It was therefore anticipated there would not be a challenge with providing continuity of service in this sector.  The Director of Adult Social Care also confirmed that there are staff who are exempt from being vaccinated and therefore they would continue in their roles.

  • Overseas recruitment: The Committee discussed the proposed recruitment of care home staff from overseas and asked whether more could be done to increase rates of recruitment from the local population.  In response, Members were informed that the Department actively employs a range of methods in the local area to promote working in the sector.  This includes, for example, attendance at recruitment fairs.   However, there are a number of factors which mean recruitment remains a challenge for the adult social care sector.  These factors include competition from similarly paid roles in the leisure and hospitality industries and the nature of care work itself, which whilst rewarding is also a challenging and demanding job. 


  • Homecare referrals: The Committee discussed the increase in the rate of homecare referrals and asked for clarification as to what factors were behind the trend.  In response Members were informed that over 25% of the population in East Sussex is over 65 years of age and therefore there has been and continues to be a general increase in demand for support with care.  In the short term the Covid-19 pandemic may have contributed to a rise in demand for Homecare as many clients wished to avoid using a care home.  The increase in the rate of homecare referrals is also being driven by an increased recognition at the national level of the benefits of helping clients to live independently and in their own homes for as long as possible. 


  • Self-funding clients: In response to a queryregarding the support provided by the Department to individuals and families who fund their own care, Members were informed that the Department offer advice and guidance to clients about all the options available to them.  Where requested this includes support from the Department’s brokerage team who will work with clients and individual care homes to help identify suitable options.


  • Use of technology in homecare:  In response to a question about the extent of its use, the Committee were informed that technology is widely utilized to provide assistance with care.  For example, the Department use Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS) which incorporates a range of technological solutions and services for those in care, many of which are interlinked with other services such as Lifeline.  The Department is also about to undertake studies looking into the use of robotics to assist with moving and handling, a form of technology that has been successfully deployed in other local authorities.


15.2     The Committee RESOLVED to note the report and request an update report in six months.

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