Kingston’s poorest dementia and high-needs elderly residents have been dealt a cruel blow by LibDem- controlled Kingston Council, as they axed promised care home places at their latest committee meeting.
The heartless LibDem move is a major U-turn on their previous promise to support those who are unable to afford expensive private care homes.
In 2017, under the last Conservative administration, Kingston Council agreed to build a new care home in Surbiton to help support the growing demand for high-needs dementia residents. The care home was to be publicly built and privately operated, but beds were to be reserved for Kingston residents who couldn’t afford expensive private care homes. Those residents were to be supported by Kingston Council and subsidised by the private beds. At least 40% of the beds were to be allocated to Kingston-funded Council residents.
However, local residents were shocked as LibDem councillors forced through changes at the recent Response and Recovery committee meeting. The Lib Dems cynically ditched their high-profile promise and axed all of the proposed beds for Kingston’s neediest residents. The new care home will now be entirely private and charged at a premium full-market price.
Cllr Kevin Davis, Leader of the Opposition, said:
“This is a disgraceful betrayal of the low-income elderly of Kingston who will never be able to afford this home. Kingston Council should not be building a care home for the private sector unless they can get a benefit for Kingston residents. Our poorer elderly cannot afford to go into private care homes and pay full fees. It’s the equivalent of the Council building a hospital that only private patients can use.
“Kingston Council should have identified a private-sector provider before the home was built, in line with the decision of Councillors in December 2017. Instead, the Lib Dems ploughed on building a home without a care provider or knowing what they were going to do with it when it was built.”
Cllr Ed Fram, the Opposition Spokesperson for the Elderly, said:
“The incompetent LibDems should have come to an agreement with a private provider from the outset. Unbelievably, they have started building a home without knowing who will run it, or what they are going to do with it. Kingston families will be rightly concerned as to where their elderly parents will go when they need support. Many will need to move significantly out of their home Borough in order to find a home with lower fees, possibly in the Midlands or further North. This is a disgraceful thing for the Lib Dems to have done to our residents.”
In September 2017 the Council committee committed to a procurement timetable for securing a provider before building the buildings – this is copied below. The Council did not follow the committee decision and went off and started building in 2020 before they appointed anyone to run the home. No one knows what will happen if they cannot find a provider other than they will have a care home with no residents.