Tory minister vows to improve failing homes

Harry Sotnick House in Buckland which could be taken over by Hampshire County Council
Harry Sotnick House in Buckland which could be taken over by Hampshire County Council

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A HEALTH minister has vowed to improve Portsmouth’s mass of failing care homes after almost half were rated as ‘inadequate’ or ‘requiring improvement’.

Caroline Dinenage, Gosport MP, said the ‘unacceptable’ situation needed to improve, and pledged the government was looking to do all it could to support local councils.

Gosport MP and health minister Caroline Dinenage has vowed to improve the city's failing care homes

Gosport MP and health minister Caroline Dinenage has vowed to improve the city's failing care homes

It comes after data compiled by older people’s charity Independent Age showed 46.5 per cent of care homes in the city have the bottom two ratings – one of seven areas with a figure higher than 40 per cent.

Ms Dinenage, who is the Conservative adult social care minister, said: ‘Everyone should be able to access high-quality care wherever they are in the country.

‘While nationally 81 per cent are rated good or outstanding, it’s unacceptable that some local authorities are falling short.’

Last week The News revealed how failing Buckland care home Harry Sotnick House could be taken over by Hampshire County Council.

Harry Sotnick House

Harry Sotnick House

Portsmouth City Council’s health and social care board agreed to entering talks with the county council after it cancelled Care UK’s contract following a woeful CQC report.

Responding to the situation, Ms Dinenage said the government had changed the law so councils must ensure people in need of care have a ‘meaningful choice’ of services.

As part of this, local authorities had been provided £2bn in funding with a further £150m announced earlier this year.

However, critics have said the cash is nowhere near enough to support council-run services after years of Tory-led austerity, which has seen local authority budgets slashed over 10 years.

Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP, said more money is urgently needed to be pumped into the city to prop up a social care that is ‘in crisis’.

The Labour MP said: ‘We’ve got air pollution levels that are far too high, we’ve got a third of children living in poverty, we’ve got social care in crisis.

‘That’s why we need to make sure we see the investment that Portsmouth needs. It’s a city that’s on the up but that’s sadly been let down too often by the government.’