Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Council transport chief 'disappointed' at Leeds trolley bus announcement

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for city development,has expressed his 'disappointment' at today's announcement that Leeds will have to put in a further bid for funding for the Leeds NGT trolley bus scheme.

Cllr Lewis said:

“We are pleased that the Leeds trolley bus is included in the list of the 22 schemes which could still be in line for government funding but very disappointed that we have yet to go through another bidding round and another year of uncertainty and delay. This will also bring extra costs in developing the proposals again.

“It is particularly disappointing given that we have already looked to save a further 15 per cent of the scheme’s costs and have worked very closely with the Department for Transport on this scheme.

“Indeed, the 15per cent saving equates to £35million which would bring the government’s own contribution to less than £200 million.

“The NGT trolley bus network’s ability to tackle congestion and reduce the city’s carbon footprint will speed Leeds’ recovery from recession. It will boost its economy and enhance the region’s ability to compete on the national and international stage and we will continue our work to press the government on the urgent need to deliver this scheme.”


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Notes to editors:

NGT stands for New Generation Transport

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For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council Press Office (0113) 224 3602
email sara.hyman@leeds.gov.uk

Council leader pledges support to working more closely with NHS

The leader of Leeds City Council has pledged his support to proposals by NHS Leeds and NHS Leeds Community Healthcare to establish a community foundation trust (CFT) providing a full range of community services in the city.

In a letter to Linda Pollard, Chair of NHS Leeds, Councillor Keith Wakefield has confirmed that better outcomes for the people of Leeds, and a more productive and efficient service could be achieved, through Leeds City Council and the local NHS making a commitment to working together more closely in the future.

In April 2009, as part of the Department of Health Transforming Community Services programme, NHS Leeds Community Healthcare became a stand-alone provider organisation working at 'arms length' from the commissioning side of NHS Leeds. However the White Paper, "Excellence and Equity: Liberating the NHS", confirmed that community services must be separated (or significant progress made to ensure the separation) from primary care trusts by April 2011.

One option, supported by the government was to encourage the development of social enterprises, led by NHS staff working in the service. A deputation to Leeds City Council in September by representatives of UNISON, asked executive board to refer the matter of community health services in the city becoming a social enterprise to the health scrutiny board.

Since then, there has been clarification of government policy, which means that NHS Leeds can now pursue the option of having a community foundation trust model instead of a social enterprise one. The community foundation trust option will allow flexibility in the future to integrate services across the NHS and the council to reflect shared benefits and risks.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“We are committed to pursuing the opportunity for foundation trust status for Leeds Community Health Services, as we strongly believe that it is the right direction for our city and for the people that need our services.

“We already have well established and effective integrated services for older people, for child and adolescent mental health, and the joint equipment service for people with a disability. However I am confident that more integration in health, social care and other council services will produce far better outcomes for the people of Leeds in a more productive, efficient way.”

Linda Pollard, chair of NHS Leeds said:
“At the September trust board meeting, we were able to confirm the Department of Health had advised that a community foundation trust model was now an option for NHS Leeds Community Healthcare. Staff, key partners and stakeholders had always supported this as their preferred option and the board was happy to approve their application.

“We are pleased to have the support of Leeds City Council as we await the assessment and approval process, and we too are fully committed to ensuring the best possible community services for the people of Leeds.”

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Additional info

Scrutiny Board (health) will consider plans for the re-organisation of community health services in Leeds at its meeting on 23 November 2010.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk

Transformation of home care services for adults in Leeds


Pauline Bunney with her dog Pepper

Council chiefs will be asked to give the green light to plans to transform the way adult social care is delivered in Leeds at a meeting of executive board next week.

The proposals outline new ways of delivering homecare services to make sure that they provide the best possible choice and increased opportunities for remaining independent for customers.

The report sets out plans to develop a reablement service in Leeds, which will help people to do things for themselves rather than having things done for them. This will help to promote independence and support customers to continue living in their own homes, as well as reducing their need for long-term health and social care services.

The importance of personalised services is also highlighted, which gives people more choice and control over how they live their lives. The number of people using personal budgets in Leeds is increasing monthly, and this has meant a shift away from people using traditional services. Instead they are engaging in a different range of activities chosen by themselves to suit their own needs and lifestyles.

There is growing evidence that local authorities are best placed to provide early intervention and prevention services in-house, whilst long-term care is commissioned from the independent sector, or directly purchased by customers using a personal budget. A further report in July 2011 will give proposals for the future delivery of the long-term community support service.

Reablement services recognise that people sometimes need some short-term, intensive help to be able to remain living in their own homes, for example following a stay in hospital. The service would offer short programmes delivered by trained staff to help people regain or maintain their independence.

The benefits of reablement are well established nationally and many other local authorities already offer this service. Independent studies have found the following improved outcomes for customers:

• Significant short-term improvements in social care outcomes, for example getting outdoors, being able to transfer from the bed to the chair, and washing and bathing.
• Reduced dependency levels, particularly in activities such as getting outdoors and personal care.
• Significant improvement in perceived quality of life.
• Significant impact on health-related quality of life, particularly with regard to mobility, self-care, pain/discomfort and anxiety/depression.
• Significant short-term improvement in perceived health, with around a third of users reporting that their health had improved.

As a result of reablement, many people have reduced (or no) need for long-term homecare or residential care. Developing this service in Leeds will provide a sustainable, high quality frontline service and respond to the increasingly challenging financial situation.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for adult social care said:
“As the number of older people in the city continues to increase, so does the demand on homecare services.

“With increasing pressures on adult social care budgets, it simply isn’t possible to carry on doing what we have always done. We need to shape our services so that we can continue to offer care to vulnerable people in our communities that is affordable, meets their needs and supports them to live their lives how they want to live them.

“I strongly believe that the reablement service and personal budgets offer far better choice for customers and will provide the most effective service for the future.”

Sandie Keene, director of adult social services said:
“We have already done lots of work in Leeds to make sure that we offer a personalised service focusing on prevention and early intervention.

“We recognise that further improvement and development of services is needed to make sure that we are in good shape to face the financial challenges ahead.

“We are confident that these proposals will deliver a better, more modern service that will meet our customers aspirations and provide them with a better quality of life.

The Leeds Reablement Service will be made up of the following services:
Assistive technology services – providing equipment, alarms and adaptations to help people live more independently.
The community support service skills for independent living team (SKiLs) will support people to develop and practice personal, domestic and social skills in their homes, so that they gain in confidence and achieve as much independence as possible.
The outreach service provides support for customers in community settings, giving them opportunities to meet other people in local venues such as cafes and community centres. This helps them to build friendships and maximise their independence.

Pilots to test these proposals have been carried out in three areas of the city, and a roll-out programme is being developed so that a fully operational, citywide plan is in place for April 2011.

Case study: Pauline B’s story: “At last I’m feeling more me!”
Pauline B is 83 and lives alone in Yeadon, with her dog Pepper. In May 2010 Pauline developed severe pain following a back injury. Even strong painkillers couldn’t help. Her condition deteriorated rapidly, and she lost all motivation.

After a short period of specialist support from the reablement team, and the installation of some equipment in her home including grab rails and smoke alarms, the change in Pauline’s condition and mood has been remarkable. She is now able to live independently, apart from receiving assistance to shower twice a week – but she is keen to get to the point where she is doing even this for herself. Pauline and her family are delighted by the difference this has made.

Pauline takes up the story: “After I hurt my back I couldn’t do most things. I felt absolutely terrible. I didn’t want anyone near me. I looked horrible and lost almost two stone in weight. I wasn’t eating – in fact, the thought of food made me feel sick. I couldn’t leave the house. My family were all very worried about me and I was worried too.

“I’ve been very lucky with the people who have come to help. They helped me get my confidence back to do things for myself, and helped me sort out my medication. They were very good, very patient. It wasn’t a case of doing things for me, just a case of encouraging me. They were quite firm about getting me to do more things for myself, and they did right: now I can do much more.

“I couldn’t have managed without their help. In fact, my daughter felt I was going to need to go into a nursing home. And I was thinking, what else can I do? I felt resigned to it. But they said, ‘Don’t think like that. We can help you get your independence back.’ It made all the difference.

“I try to do my own washing now, apart from the sheets – my daughter-in-law will be helping me with those. I can make all my own food now. I can do bacon and eggs and tomato. And I can feed my dog, Pepper. I still can’t quite manage the shower – the staff are helping me get my confidence back with that. I’ve had grab-rails installed, and the non-slip surface. I can’t do cleaning, but I pay my daughter’s friend to help with that.

“Now I feel much better, and I want to start doing things again. For example, today I feel like reading the newspaper. I haven’t wanted to for a long time. I always liked to do the puzzles. And I’m looking forward to getting out of the house – I’ve been stuck inside for so long! I want to go out on my scooter, with my little dog. At last I’m feeling more me.”

Pauline’s daughter, Julie, says: “The difference in my mother is amazing. Mum had lost all her confidence in doing anything, including her own personal care. She wasn’t eating and her pills were all over the place. “She had regular help with food preparation and personal hygiene and is now doing these again for herself. The staff have all been fantastic. I can’t thank them enough for the sympathetic but firm way they handled Mum. Now, she has started to live again.”

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Additional info

Personal budgets allow customers to be much more creative about how they get the support they need. People are informed of how much money is available to them, and can then choose who they want to provide their support. This can be a mixture of council services and other providers. They can choose whether the money comes directly to them or is managed by somebody else - a trusted relative for example - or the council.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk

Plans to accelerate modernisation of day services for learning disabled adults in Leeds


Alan Hicks at work at Leeds People First office

The transformation of day services for learning disabled adults in Leeds could be brought forward if plans are approved at next week’s meeting of the council’s executive board.

Work to modernise learning disability day services started in January 2009, with the aim of delivering more personalised services to customers and supporting them in venues within the local community. The vision is to give adults with learning disabilities every opportunity to benefit from engaging in the life of the city, whilst making sure that the service is in good shape to continue meeting the needs of those with the most complex needs.

Leeds is unusual in that it currently provides building-based day services to people who live in staffed accommodation. The national norm is that people living in 24 hour staffed accommodation receive day time support from their home

The proposals will maintain the current arrangement of up to five days each week within day services for learning disabled adults who live at home with family carers. Those living in staffed accommodation will be supported to spend more of their day accessing their local community from where they live rather than attending a segregated day centre. However, they will still be able to attend a day service for up to two days a week if they wish, which will enable them to maintain their friendship groups.

The strategy was approved in January 2009, and it was agreed to start implementing the changes in south Leeds. Moor End Day Centre has now closed and its service replaced with a range of voluntary sector provision and adult social care support delivered from three new small community bases at the John Charles Centre, Technorth and Hillside. These have provided a much more varied and personalised menu of activities, which were developed in consultation with customers and carers. Feedback from Moor End’s customers has been extremely positive, with one group advocating for the changes to be made available to their peers across the city.

Following the success of the first stage of the strategy, the council is keen to accelerate its implementation across the rest of the city. This will allow resources currently tied up in buildings to be refocused on delivering a much more personalised service for customers.

The roll-out of the strategy will mean less people will need to attend large, segregated day centres making a further three of them surplus to requirements. Fulfilling Lives services in Horsforth, Wetherby and West Ardsley have been identified as the most suitable ones to be replaced with smaller bases in existing community buildings, as they have the lowest attendance and their buildings are in most need of modernisation. Further investment will be made in the remaining centres to ensure they meet the needs of their customers.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for adult social care said:
“People with learning disabilities have every right to feel part of their local communities, and not be excluded by being sent to day centres every day of the week. It is right that we look at different ways of including them in society, and the traditional services on offer don’t always fit the bill.

“Its clear from the success we have had in changing the way we deliver services to customers from the Moor End centre, that people's aspirations are very different now to what they used to be, and we need to move with the times.

“The positive way in which the new arrangements have been received by our customers proves that this transformation is a huge step in the right direction.”

Case study - Alan Hicks
Alan attended Moor End Day Centre for many years but has now taken full advantage of some of the many new opportunities open to him as a result of the modernisation programme.

He now attends the new service base at Hillside in Beeston two days each week, where he has become involved in the community radio station. He attends drama, literacy and Tai Chi classes run by Leeds Health for All’s “As One” project in Holbeck. He is also the co–chair of the stakeholder involvement group and works as a receptionist one day each week for Leeds People First at their “Leep 1” project.

Asked how he feels about his very busy new timetable Alan said, “I’m loving it all” and that, as part of his role with People First, he wants to tell people in other centres about how good the changes have been.

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Additional info

Our services currently have 848 customers on their registers though have an average allocated daily attendance of 654. The number of attendees has fallen over the years as people have been encouraged to attain more personalised outcomes and this has led to a comparable reduction in staffing over time. Of the customers who attend the services, 49% live at home with family carers and 51% live in accommodation based services with 24 hour support provided either by adult social care or other providers in the city.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk