Following a consultation process, Isle of Wight councillors are to consider new proposals to allow respite care provision to remain at Westminster House in Newport.
The Isle of Wight Council has been consulting on plans to transfer the service to other facilities in Ryde and Freshwater because of the high cost of the service which in future individuals will need to meet from their “personal budgets”, and because the building will need significant modernisation if it is to meet the sort of standards that people increasingly expect from such a facility.
During the consultation process, people who use the service and their families made it clear that they valued the facility being in Newport as the county town offered more amenities such as shopping, cafes, cinema and other leisure activities and was more centrally located.
Importantly staff at Westminster House have responded with plans both to save money and to raise further income which the council is now evaluating. In light of this, members of the council’s cabinet are being asked to approve new arrangements so that Westminster House will in the short term remain where it is. This will be at less cost to council tax payers and more affordable to people using it while longer term solutions arising from the consultation are agreed.
Cllr Roger Mazillius, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “While it would be wrong to pre-empt the decision making process, it would seem that – as we had anticipated – the consultation process has come up with some sound proposals for a way forward that should be acceptable to everyone from those who use the service and their carers to the wider council tax payer.
“I have always given assurances that the consultation would be meaningful and that no decisions would be made until that thorough process was complete and all the options had been given full consideration.
“ I am pleased to say that I have been impressed with the comprehensive nature of the consultation and also that the passion of those involved with Westminster House staff, carers and other supporters, has also been reflected by firm proposals from the community that offer us another option.
“I hope that this proposed outcome will also demonstrate that the Isle of Wight Council does approach consultations with a genuinely open mind and will always take account of the feedback received.”
The consultation also involved changes to the way homecare was provided in terms of who would be eligible to receive it and how much those residents would be charged. Details of both that outcome and the Westminster House options will discussed by the Isle of Wight Council cabinet at its meeting on 8 February.