A proposal to close Newport’s two remaining supported living care homes for those with learning and health disabilities is not in the public interest, according to UNISON Cymru Wales.
The City Council intends to privatise supported living care in which 13 carers assist 5 clients. Closing the homes has obvious negative implications for potential service users in the future in Newport.
Care workers belonging to UNISON cannot understand why the council is so quick to throw away 25 years of exemplary service helping vulnerable adults play a more active role in the community.
The trade union says it is inevitable a private company will look to make savings in order to turn a profit and that means undermining carers’ employment conditions and quality of care.
UNISON accused the council of seeking to be a commissioner of care rather than a care provider. Changes have already been made to extra care services, supported living is threatened and the union believes residential homes too, will be cut loose by the authority.
UNISON says if private companies run care and things go wrong, clients and their families will have no-one to complain to because no-one has a democratic duty to listen.
Peter Garland, UNISON branch secretary said,
“The staff are bitterly disappointed. Supported living carers are the clients’ best friend; social worker and personal support all rolled into one. This wonderful work must be directly provided by the council.
“There is no way the level of supported living care in the private sector will be as professional because any firm needs to generate profits.
“Privatisation will turn clients’ worlds upside down. They will have been living with a maximum of 4 people and will now be living with 5,6, 7, even 11 people in the same home. Unless the private company employs more staff, clients will have fewer opportunities to go out.
“Private landlords will have the last word on whether building improvements, such as redecoration, are done. Currently, this work is done straight away by the council because our quality standards must be maintained.
“The council is making these cuts by stealth; closure wasn’t part of the budget consultation. UNISON wants them to consider the wholly negative impact and overturn the decision.”
Notes for the editors
- Supported living services were restructured at the end of last year, reducing 4 homes down to 2 and staff were told it was the end of the matter. Now, within six weeks they have been told the 2 remaining homes will close.
Alastair Gittins, UNISON Press Officer on 07816 538397