National Audit Office report confirms cuts in care fees
Caring Times, May 2014
A National Audit Office (NAO) report published in March has thrown light on the extent of real terms cuts in the fees paid by local authorities towards the cost of caring for individuals who qualify for public funding.
The Registered Nursing Home Association (RNHA) said the NAO had calculated that between 2009/10 and 2013/14 the rates paid by local authorities for care home places had increased by 5% less than the costs incurred, with around half of all directors of adult social services admitting that care homes in their areas were facing financial difficulties.
RNHA chief executive officer Frank Ursell said the NAO had also confirmed another scandal created by the cuts in government grants to local authorities which had in turn led to cuts in the value of fees they pay to care homes
“Its report highlights the fact individuals who have to meet the care costs out of their own pockets end up paying more than the local authorities are paying for those who qualify for public funding,” said Mr Ursell.
“This enforced cross-subsidisation is wrong – yet further evidence of the negative impact of current government policies. “The NAO acknowledges that some local authorities do try to take account of care homes’ costs when setting their fees, which means that some do not.
“A number of recent court judgements in different parts of the country have found that this is unlawful. “So we have a situation in which government cuts in public expenditure are forcing some councils to break the law by turning a blind eye to the economic realities of providing care. What a tangled web this is, and what an indictment on the whole system of funding.”