Midsomer care home Combe Lea is being taken back into BANES control
By Susie Watkins
21st Jan 2020 | Local News
Midsomer care home, Combe Lea, is definitively being taken back into B&NES control.
The news was confirmed today in this report by the local democracy reporter Stephen Sumner who wrote:
Adult social care services are coming back under council control in Bath and North East Somerset after a protracted pay dispute.
Sirona care and health announced in September it would be handing back the contract for three residential care homes and five extra care housing schemes.
It said the ongoing provision was financially unsustainable after facing repeated strike action by staff.
Jobs and the care provided will not be affected when the services come back under the control of Bath and North East Somerset Council from September 1.
John Drake, the regional organiser of the Unison union, said: "Unison has been campaigning alongside care workers in Bath to call for their service to be brought back under direct council control following the dispute we had with Sirona in 2018.
"This decision by Bath and North East Somerset Council is the correct one and we will work closely with the council to ensure continued quality of care for both residents and staff.
"Unison believes that all adult social care should be adequately funded and run by local authorities who are best placed to plan and deliver care services in their area.
"We call on all local authorities to bring care services back in house as and when the opportunity arises."
Unison supported Sirona staff through months of strike action in a dispute over their pay conditions.
The firm said it had to make savings to ensure it lived within its means as it asked staff to move from paid to unpaid breaks when they work more than six hours.
It and the council said in September they were "saddened" that the contract was being terminated, because the services were a key part of the not-for-profit social enterprise since it formed.
They said in a joint statement this week: "We are really pleased a sustainable future for the service has been agreed by the council which plans to provide in-house management by September.
"The community resource centres and extra care facilities are people's homes and continuing the provision of high-quality care and support remains a priority for all of us now and during the transfer to the council.
"We will continue to work together during the notice period to ensure there is continuity of care and a smooth transition to the council for staff, residents and tenants. We are committed to keeping residents, tenants, families and staff up to date."
Sirona is handing back the contract to provide 30 beds at Combe Lea, 45 beds at Cleeve Court in Bath, and 30 beds at Charlton House in Keynsham.
It also provides care to 140 tenants in extra care housing schemes in Bath's Avondown House, the Orchard and St John's Court, along with Greenacres Court in Midsomer Norton and Hawthorn Court in Keynsham.
In July Sirona was confirmed as the single provider of adult community health services across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.