Extra cash for extra care announced

Health minister Stephen Ladyman has announced a fund of £87
million to increase the number of ‘extra care’ homes
available for vulnerable older people, writes Ruth

Divided into £29 million in 2004-5 and £58 million in
2005-6, the cash is designed to deliver another 1,500 places in
very sheltered accommodation by 2006.

Ladyman said the government was “determined that older
people will choose the type of care that suits them, rather than
having a choice forced on them by Whitehall or the local

But while the extra funding has been welcomed, some observers
have speculated that the government is backing down on a previous
commitment to increase the number of extra care home places by

The department of health document ‘Improvement, Expansion and
Reform: the next three years (2002)’  laid out national targets for
older people’s services. It suggested that an additional
6,900 housing places would be needed to meet these targets.

John Belcher, chief executive of Anchor Homes, said that there
was “a lack of clarity” about where the remaining extra
care places were going to come from. “There is certainly some
confusion. The remaining 5,400 places appear to have disappeared
into the ether.”

He estimated that a new sheltered acccomodation scheme,
providing between 50 and 60 flats, would cost anywhere between
£2.5 and £4 million. By this reckoning, the £87
million should be sufficient to provide 1,500 homes.

As for where the remaining 5,400 beds might come from, Belcher
said: “I suppose registered social landlords could bid to the
Housing Corporation for funding for the remaining extra care
schemes. But, compared to the pressures for affordable housing for
key workers and for people in London and the south east, sheltered
accommodation for older people can be seen as a low

A doh spokesperson said that the money was “intended to
boost the current rate of expansion” in extra care provision,
and insisted that the government would deliver on its target of an
extra 6,900 homes by 2006.

Bids for the money will be invited at the end of July,
particularly from projects which involve renovation of existing
residential homes or sheltered housing, include a range of partners
or make use of  private sector finance.

‘Improvement, Expansion and Reform: the next three years

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