A NEW £9 million care home will do little to defuse the Capital’s demographic timebomb, the city’s health leader has admitted.
It was announced last week that £4m of capital funding had been secured in the 2013-14 council budget to build a new 60-bed facility in Edinburgh.
But it has emerged that the new home, which is likely to be built in the north of the city, will not create additional rooms for soaring numbers of elderly residents. Instead, it will replace either one or two aging homes.
Health and social care leader Ricky Henderson said: “It’s not going to be the solution. There’s a far bigger and more complex picture. It won’t solve issues other than us being able to close one or two that aren’t meeting modern standards.
“But this does mean that the council is recognising the needs of elderly residents in care homes.”
Figures published this winter showed that Edinburgh’s care homes are among the most crowded and expensive in the country. Nearly 95 per cent of places are occupied, with average prices hitting £789 per week.
Demand for care home places has been a key reason for high numbers of bed-blocking patients in Lothian hospitals, who need a space but do not have one available.
This demand is only likely to increase, with the number of over-75s in Lothian to go up by 22 per cent by 2020, and the number of patients with dementia to surge by 70 per cent in the next two decades.
It is not yet been decided which facility the new home will replace, although residents will be consulted before any final decisions are taken. The £4m will come from the capital budget, with the council’s health and social care department paying the rest.
The council hopes to support more people in their own homes for longer and an additional £2m has also been made available to support pensioners.
Councillor Henderson said: “It’s about ensuring people are in their own homes for as long as possible. If we can get it right in terms of supporting people in the community, we might see a regeneration of community spirit and more community services.”
DEPARTMENT’S CASH BOOST
ALTHOUGH the department has made savings in administrative areas, the city’s health and social care budget has actually increased for 2013-14 in recognition of the increased pressure its services are under.
An additional £2.8 million has been found to support adults with disabilities, while funding will also be provided to support carers.
A scheme that was introduced last year, costing £400,000, will be extended in 2013-14.
It sees unpaid carers offered a one-off payment of up to £250 to spend on their own health and wellbeing.
An internet networking system, aimed at connecting people in need of support with volunteers, has been created while the cash will also fund an emergency card scheme, which will provide help if a carer suddenly falls ill or has an accident.
It is estimated that there are around 39,000 unpaid carers in Edinburgh, with one-fifth giving at least 50 hours of time a week.