Care England has written to all Directors of Adult Social Services regarding fee rates for care providers.
The detail of the letter highlighted that in addition to the human cost that the pandemic has had upon care homes, the financial impact upon providers has been unprecedented.
According to Care England, local authorities have a legal obligation to promote the efficient and effective operation of the care markets in their localities, to ensure that people have a variety of providers and services to choose from. They must also have regard to the sustainability of the market which includes a duty to ensure adequate fee levels.
The Directors of Adults Social Services will hear the case that the pandemic has had a significant and immediate impact upon providers’ costs of care and while there has been some financial support provided to care providers, it has been limited and has not been provided on an indemnity basis. Care England said this has left providers having to absorb the financial shortfall on their increased costs often with reduced occupancy and calls for fair fee rates for care providers.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, said, ‘We are deeply concerned with the feedback we are receiving from many of our members about local authorities who are proposing to make very little increases, if any, to the base fee rates they pay for the care services that they commission. This impact, combined with other inflationary pressures has created the perfect storm, placing the care home market, home care and supported living settings in an incredibly precarious financial position.
‘The current Covid-19 pandemic has, and continues to have, a catastrophic impact on all elements of our society. Care homes have been recognised as one of the front lines and have sadly been one the most affected despite the measures that have been put in place by both providers and central government. We hope that Directors of Adult Social Services will work with the sector to ensure that it can recover and be in the best position possible to provide quality care to those in need.’
Care England analysis indicates that where known around one in five councils (20%) did not increase their base rates for either residential or nursing home placements in 2018/19, despite rising inflation and increased workforce costs.
In the first of a series of ‘Knowledge’ pieces, Philippa Shirtcliffe, Head of Care Quality at Quality Compliance Systems (QCS), a leading provider of best practice for the social care and healthcare sectors, focuses on the future of funding and asks if the current organisational model works.