Care homes cannot afford to pay staff more on existing budgets
By guest blogger DAVID WATERS
Chair, Howden Care (CHIS and PrimeCare)
Care home companies are not just ‘crying wolf’, they are already in serious financial trouble. George Osborne’s new living wage is a fantastic idea, but will inevitably push many to breaking point financially if changes are not made to the way care is funded.
Care is a minimum wage industry and profit margins are extremely tight, especially for state-funded business. Local councils continue to slash budgets and costs such as utilities, food and insurance are rising. Care homes simply cannot afford to pay staff any more on existing budgets.
Change is needed, but nobody seems to want to have this conversation. We need to pay our care workers a wage which recognises the arduous tasks they do for us in caring for vulnerable members of society. If more people are prepared for long-term care earlier could they self-fund? Could the Government extend state pensions on this basis and allow top-up fees in a managed manner, rather than forcing care homes to charge for ‘additional services’? Could long term care funding be provided by banks and insurers, payable only when someone needs it? Should social and health care be joined together?
The Government needs to implement the recommendations of the Dilnot report and ensure vulnerable members of society are adequately funded for their care needs. The care industry is in a desperate situation financially. Change is required if we are to safeguard its future and the future of vulnerable members of society in need of social care. Otherwise these vulnerable people will find themselves at A&E units across the country and the State will incur the NHS costs, which are about seven times higher than current social care costs.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.