Ideal Care Homes puts up fees
Caring Times, February 2013
Ideal Care Homes, part of the LNT group of companies, has increased the fees it charges self-funded residents by £60 a week.
Local media in Staffordshire say families of residents at Ideal’s Park Hall care home in Bentilee, who had been paying £485 per week, will now have to pay £545.
Ideal Care Homes managing director Mark Greaves told local media in Staffordshire that in the case of Park Hall, his company had been compelled to increase the fees because State funding from Stoke-on-Trent City Council did not reflect the true cost of care.
“We charge the same fee across all our homes and, therefore, we have actually applied the same increase in all our homes,” Mr Greaves told Caring Times.
“Through strenuous efforts we have managed to maintain our self-funding fee at a level significantly below that of other homes of a comparable quality, but we have chosen to increase the fees to secure and sustain the business.”
Mr Greaves said the fee increase had been made necessary by the current banking climate, increased underpinning costs and local authority fees which did not reflect the true cost of care. He said that in the case of Park Hall, Stoke-on-Trent City Council planned to pay £412 per week to support a person in residential care, whereas national research shows the true cost to be closer to £600.
“Obviously we appreciate that any increase to fees can be sensitive but it is important in the context of Ideal’s business model that the policy of not charging third party top-ups is maintained,” he said.
“This fee rise has been a consistent increase across all our homes which supports our chairman Lawrence Tomlinson’s message to government for a single national fee policy which reflects and promotes quality and investment in the sector. Lawrence has been relentlessly lobbying ministers, civil servants and local authorities to establish a fairer framework for fees across the country and one which does not discriminate against self funding residents.”
Ideal’s ‘no top-ups’ policy
Mr Greaves said there were currently significant inequities in the residential care fee system.
“Since the responsibility to set fee rates was transferred from the then DSS to local authorities in 1993, each year since then has seen a divergence in the rates set by each of the 152 LAs with social services responsibilities. This has resulted in a postcode lottery for the amount an LA will fund an individual to access residential care. The same individual’s level of support can vary by more than £100 per week in nearby LAs with similar economic and social contexts.
“Some local authorities set their fee rates at such a low level that it would be impossible to deliver quality care within it. These areas then rely on homes to access third parties to “top-up” their fees. While this may be a willing and appropriate arrangement for some, for others it is a necessity in order to access adequate care and, while the person who is resident will have some level of protection afforded to their capital and revenue income by the Charging for Residential Accommodation Guidelines, the third party has no such protection.
“It is entirely feasible that the son or daughter of the person in a care setting could themselves be pensioners – that is why, at Ideal Care Homes, we believe it is not appropriate to charge 3rd party top ups.”