Described as “exciting and bold” by the Tory administration proposing the scheme and “gravely concerning” by opposition councillors, the new integrated health and social care organisation would see the services provided by Olympus Care Services.
Currently the services are provided by Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and the county council’s adult social care provision. Existing health and social care service users will continue to receive the same services delivered by the same care workers.
It is part of the county council’s overall drive to reduce its workforce and instead set up social enteprises and other organisations to deliver services on its behalf.
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Cabinet members will be asked to agree in principle plans to integrate these services and, if approved, the new way of working would be in place by April 1, 2016, and fully up and running by April 2017.
Councillor Suresh Patel, county council cabinet member for adult social care, said: “This is an exciting and bold decision, bringing together core services to provide an integrated seamless service which will deliver better outcomes for the people of Northamptonshire.
“Social care and health care are facing unprecedented demands for their services in a time of reducing budgets. Through working together, we can better co-ordinate our resources while making sure we have a community health and social care model that is fit for the future and best placed to meet the needs of the county.”
But Labour county councillor, Danielle Stone, said she had a number of concerns.
“I understand the need for shared budgets and collaboration but I have very grave concerns about this formation because, firstly, there will duplication in terms of lead managers. The county will have to maintain a lead for this area of work and the new organisation. It doesn’t make any sense.
“The second issue is around governance. What will be the role of councillors [in monitoring] this new formation?
“The third issue is that this is all very well and will last for three years but will then lead to privitisation and, if it does, this will lead to cherry picking of the most lucrative services, which is what always happens with privitisation.”