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Surrey Conservatives lock care home decision behind closed doors

March 20, 2012 3:05 PM

Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council have condemned the County's Conservative administration for refusing to accept that a safety net of adult care homes for Surrey's most vulnerable should continue to be run by the County Council.

In the debate today in full council on a motion proposed by Liberal Democrat County Councillors John Orrick and Hazel Watson, the Conservatives pushed through an amendment that laid the County Council open to putting all of its adult care homes out to be privately run.

Cllr Hazel Watson, the Liberal Democrat Leader of the Opposition on Surrey County Council said: "The Conservatives in their actions today blocked any effective public debate of the policy that should steer the decisions that are being taken behind closed doors at County Hall. It was clear from their amendment to our motion, and by the words of the Conservative Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, that they are considering Surrey County Council not running any of its own adult care homes in the future. This would be a damaging U-turn on existing policy, which would be difficult and expensive to reverse.

"Liberal Democrats believe that a mix of homes run by the County Council, private care homes and home care needs to continue to ensure that there is a safety net for those with high or complex needs. The County Council should not put all its eggs in the private sector basket."

Councillor John Orrick, who has the County Council run Dormers Care Home in his Caterham Hill division, said: "The Conservatives were disingenuously killing the debate by incorrectly saying that the Liberal Democrats are calling for all of the County's care homes to be run and owned by the County Council.

"We are quite clear that in the present financial climate that we want to see a number of homes owned and run by the County Council for the most vulnerable, as many people as possible to be able to stay in their own homes and for the private sector to be used where appropriate.

"We must ensure that Surrey County Council has the homes it needs long-term to care for those with high or complex needs."