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Warning over weeding out of adult care providers in Norfolk

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More than 50 adult care providers in Norfolk could be asked to “leave the market” if they do not improve, a care boss has warned.

Fears have been raised that Norfolk’s most vulnerable are getting a rough deal because the quality of care lags far below the national average.

Of more than 450 county care providers, only 70.9 per cent were rated as good or outstanding by watchdogs as at the end of April – below the national average of 83.7 per cent and regional average of 84 per cent.

Caring nurse holding kind elderly lady's hands in bed.. (57155546)
Caring nurse holding kind elderly lady's hands in bed.. (57155546)

James Bullion, Norfolk County Council’s director of social care, said people deserve good quality care and providers that do not turn themselves around could stop being used by the authority.

Mr Bullion said: “In order to get to our target of 85 per cent we would need to effectively turn around 40 of our residential care providers [such as care homes], or ask those 40 to leave the market if they were unable to improve and 11 of our home and nursing care providers.

“We are going to be very targeted in the way we approach this strategy and we want this to be a joint approach with the NHS.”

Council bosses have set a target to get 85 per cent of all types of care provision rated either good or outstanding by April 2024.

To help tackle the issue, on Monday the county council agreed to set up a new ‘strategic framework’ which aims to bring together health partners to work together, coordinate and act.

A new Care Quality Programme Board will be led by the county council and the NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group, working with care homes and providers to make improvements.

That new board will operate within the new Integrated Care System which will begin next month, bringing together hospitals, councils, GP practices, community and mental health trusts and other care providers.

Bill Borrett, cabinet member for adult social care, stressed the council does not provide the care itself, but it can help providers “be the best that they can be”.

Mr Borrett said there were some key areas that County Hall could help, highlighting training, support and recruitment as areas it could “help pull together to increase the effectiveness of those strands”.

Norfolk is ranked sixth bottom among 151 local authorities for the percentage of care providers – care homes, nursing and home support – rated good or outstanding by the Care Quality Commission

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