Today I secured a debate on elderly care in Kent. This was really about putting the case for Deal's much loved Sampson Court to be saved, possibly by a transfer to a community interest company.
Here are the highlights of the points I made:
"Sampson Court provides a range of services-palliative care, day care and respite care-and specialises in dementia and separate elderly mentally infirm care. It is extremely important to the community and loved not only by residents but by their families, all of whom have been passionate in their support for keeping that important community facility open. Despite that, Sampson Court is no longer classed as meeting care standards-hon. Members will recall that the previous Government introduced the decent homes standard-and because it does not have en-suite bathrooms and the building is costly to maintain and in need of renovation, Kent county council says that it is too expensive to make those changes and that it cannot continue to run the home . . .
As well as criticising Kent county council, I want to be positive about it. I understand the challenge to its budget, the challenge in meeting the decent homes standard, and the challenge of the EU public procurement regime, which is expensive and, frankly, gold-plated-it ought to be minimised. Can anything be done about public procurement in this kind of case?
The other case I have been making to Kent county council is that it could transfer the home, not as a going concern in the market but to a community interest company. That is where my interest particularly lies. Allowing a community outside the regime of Government, the procurement rules and all the regulations to take it on would enable the expertise of local care home operators to be captured so that a home could continue to operate on that site in the future. I am asking for Government support and guidance on how Sampson Court might be transferred to a CIC in partnership with local care home operators."
It has been an honour and privilege to serve as Member of Parliament for Dover & Deal. I hope to be re-elected to serve our community for another term.
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