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Healthwatch MK is to have its funding extended for a further three years from 1 January 2017 following a decision by Cllr Nigel Long, Cabinet member for Adult Social Care and Housing.

The Healthwatch MK website describes its role as giving:

people a powerful voice, locally and nationally. At a local level, Healthwatch works to make health and care services work for the people who use them, improving them today or helping to shape them for tomorrow.” http://www.healthwatchmiltonkeynes.co.uk/

Milton Keynes Council has supported a change in the way Healthwatch MK is set up. It has become a charity registered with the Charity Commission. This will allow it to be more effective and make even better use of public money it receives.

Cllr Nigel Long said, “I think Healthwatch MK have played an important role locally, they have a good standing and are effective in giving NHS and social care customers a strong independent voice.

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Cllr Nigel Long

Cllr Long added, “Their role will be increasingly important as Milton Keynes faces a huge challenge from the so-called Strategic Transformational Programme (STP) which potentially could put at risk local A&E and maternity services. And could see MK Hospital become a branch of Luton hospital. They also have a key role to play around social care services.”

Cllr Long concluded, “On Tuesday 29 November I will agree to fund Healthwatch MK for a further three years. I will allocate £158,644 pounds per year. This is £475,932 pounds in total. I look forward to continue working with them. I believe this will be money well spent.

Council to invest £475,932 in Healthwatch MK

Healthwatch MK is to have its funding extended for a further three years from 1 January 2017 following a decision by Cllr Nigel Long, Cabinet member for Adult Social Care...

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Milton Keynes faces a serious challenge of how best to help vulnerable rough sleepers. Their needs are about care and support as much as long term housing. In September the Labour led Council established the Milton Keynes Homelessness Partnership bringing together voluntary sector partners and other organisations to find a way of meeting the needs of rough sleepers and avoiding further tragic deaths.

On Tuesday 6 December the Council Cabinet will endorse twelve actions (see below) costing nearly £300,000 to further tackle the complex local problems.

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Cllr Pete Marland, Leader of MK Council

Cllr Peter Marland, Council Leader said , “The Council gave a strong commitment to respond to the needs of people sleeping rough. The proposals going to Cabinet show we are listening to the key players working with rough sleepers and show that we can find a way to help some of the most vulnerable people in Milton Keynes.”

The measures include delivering on extra emergency accommodation, creating new support services and supporting the establishment of a One stop shop with services such as showers, a café, and advice.

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Cllr Nigel Long, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Housing

Cllr Nigel Long, Cabinet member for Adult Social Care and Housing added, “Rough sleepers include ex armed forces personnel who fought for our country, people with mental health problems and people with a range of addictions. They often cannot sustain housing. We aim to provide assessments and care plans to help them stabilise their lives and find a way back into work and stable housing. We are bringing together expertise to achieve this.

Cllr Peter Marland concluded, “I believe it was a good decision to establish the Homelessness Partnership. We will ensure funds so it can continue. We will also secure funds so that the recommendations from the Partnership can be implemented. I would like to state publicly my thanks the Homelessness Partnership for their work. The difficult challenge now is to help the people literally on the streets. No civilised society should turn their backs on vulnerable people.


 

Twelve Measures to tackle rough sleeping (Budgets to be allocated in brackets, where detailed)

1. Increase accommodation by 10 beds for over 35s and employ two support staff (£75k) to tackle low level needs.

2. Carry on funding YMCA for under 35s. (£90k)

3. Ensure Orbit’s current work with Over 25s who have complex needs is extended to to the over 35s.

4. Provide a One stop shop at the Buszy (Beacon). (The Winter Night Shelter has secured funding) Or alternative premises if need be.

5. Establish an Outreach link worker service. 2 staff (£75k)

6. Extend the current Open Door drop in service to 5 days a week (£50k)

7. Establish Dedicated Mental Health rough sleeper access point.

8. The Compass drug and alcohol service will continue its work.

9. Fund a modest Publicity campaign (£1k)

10. Establish the use of Public Space Protection Orders to deal with Anti Social Behaviour and begging as a last resort.

11. Fund the Homelessness Partnership and its future work (£3k)

Total funding needed £293,000

 

Measure 12

This is a joint Funding bid with Luton, Bedford and Central Beds Councils to the Government. It would:

a) Creative Outreach and prevention hubs allowing crisis intervention and further focus on people with mental health challenges.

b) Focus on Tackling entrenched rough sleeping. This would include proving support to address health issues, give access to counselling and help support people for into accommodation.

This is a bid to Government under three schemes announced previously.

Council acting on rough sleeping

Milton Keynes faces a serious challenge of how best to help vulnerable rough sleepers. Their needs are about care and support as much as long term housing. In September the...

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Milton Keynes Council’s Older People’s Service has as a top priority to help older and disabled people stay safe and active in their own homes. The Council has taken on additional staff and improved how it operates. The result has been an increase in the amount of work undertaken allowing people to remain independent in their own homes.

There are two types of funding:

• Disability Facilities Grant (DFG) for homeowners and private lettings. The Council increased funding this year (in 2016/17) to £870,924.

• Aids and Adaptations for Council owned properties. Funding was increased to £665,000 this year. But more needs to be invested. It is Value for Money.

Cabinet member for Adult Social Care and housing, Cllr Nigel Long has agreed to review funding and is looking to invest a further £300,000 in Council Housing funded adaptations and £400,000 in adaptations to privately owned or rented homes this year.

Aids and adaptations come in many forms ranging from flat floor shower rooms, to handrails, from ramps at the front door or inside the property to a range of measures within the home. See list of current work below

Cllr Long said, “Our Council Plan 2016-20 (pg.10) our Older Peoples Strategy 2014-17(pg.3) and our Falls Prevention strategy 2013-2016 (pg.7) set out our commitment to helping older, disabled and vulnerable people stay in their own homes safely for as long as they can.

He added, “It was great that we have delivered 53 flat floor showers so far this year and a further 43 showers and 25 stair lifts and 14 ramps are currently being installed. It is great that we can invest in these improvements. They improve the quality of life for people.

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Cllr Nigel Long

Cllr Long concluded, “We want to do more. There is a big demand for such improvements. Such measures can reduce the need for home care services that are expensive. Adaptations help older and disabled people to remain active and avoid falls. They help people stay out of hospital and reduce the need to go into care or nursing homes. I hope to announce extra funding in the very near future.


 CURRENT WORKS

Outcomes of the review and current position:

Following a review to modernise the service. The responsibility for authorising major adaptations was transferred to the Head of Older Peoples Housing and Community Support in Adult Social Care via a panel supported by officers in the Housing Service and Building Services and Children’s Social Care.

YourMK manage the works once the panel has confirmed eligibility for an adaptation. They are currently working on reducing the waiting list through streamlined processes.

Additional investment was required to meet demand and outstanding works. The DFG allocation in 2016/17 increased to £870,924. The budget for MKC properties was raised to £665,000 in 2016/17.

In addition one off funding of £476,000 from Adult Social Care capital was allocated to manage the back log of work carried over from 15/16, totalling £741,520.

Current works:

Due to additional staff and new processes in Building Services it is projected that the majority of the backlog for adaptations will be visited by a surveyor by the end of October 2016

• 53 flat floor showers and 1 stair lift have been installed so far this year, totalling £208,758.22

• 43 showers, 25 stair lifts and 14 ramps are currently in process

National research shows that the majority of individuals applying for adaptations do not have a formal care package in place. Analysis of the cases on the waiting list in Milton Keynes show this to be the case locally.

There is national evidence to suggest that savings can be made to Home Care and Residential Care budgets through completing adaptations as a preventative measure.

For those with care packages, one hour of home care per day costs around £5,000 a year. Research showed that in cases where the care package could be reduced through an adaptation, the annual savings to the home care budgets from completing adaptations varied from between £1,200 to £29,000 .

National research has demonstrated that individuals who needed to move into residential care or other types of supportive housing that had previously used DFG to adapt their home were able to stay in their properties longer.

Council to review Safer home improvements funding for Disabled tenants and homeowners.

Milton Keynes Council’s Older People’s Service has as a top priority to help older and disabled people stay safe and active in their own homes. The Council has taken on...

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