Nine per cent – out of the blue and into the red

Posted on January 12th, by geoff in CT blog. 2 comments

By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson

A few months ago I was telephoned by a man who owns an 18-bed care home in Derbyshire. Relying almost entirely on local authority placements he said his profit amounted to a little over £40 per bed per week, and he speculated about how much longer he would be able to carry on.

I hope he calls me again because I would like to ask him for his reaction to the 9% increase in registration fees proposed by the Care Quality Commission. I’m sure that if his local authority were to propose a 9% increase in his fees, he would view CQC’s proposed impost with equanimity, but that isn’t going to happen.

What is likely to happen is that his operating costs are going to continue to creep upwards, with a looming increase in the National Minimum Wage threatening to push many care homes across the viability threshold. Now along comes CQC, which from top to bottom pays wages that are somewhat higher than the National Minimum Wage, proposing to trouser another 9% from care home owners in registration fees.

Nowhere in the CQC consultation document can I find any reference to a care home’s capacity to pay, or of any awareness of capacity issues resulting from potential closures.

‘Self-serving’ has become a term often associated with the social care regulator and this proposed 9% increase does nothing to weaken the association.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

2 responses to “Nine per cent – out of the blue and into the red”

  1. Ian Wilkie says:

    A well made point Geoff. Another incremental step toward the loss of many independent homes. There remains a fantasy that many care home operators are “fat cat” profiteers benefitting from the misfortune of others.

    In reality, the owner you describe is at best netting £4.28 per hour in total for 24 hour/365 day a year responsibility. He could earn more working at his local Sainsbury’s.

    CQC et al are sleepwalking into a bed crisis of their own making.

    Ian Wilkie

  2. John Burton says:

    I’m pleased to see that NCF and the Care Providers’ Alliance have put in very strongly and clearly argued objections to this proposed fee increase.
    My own view is that CQC should be more accountable to their real “customers” who are the public and the people who use social care services, and NOT the care providers. Charges for regulation and inspection should be transparent in any fees for services and appear separately on the invoice. Clients (and, when applicable, commissioners) would then be able to judge whether the service provided by CQC was value for money, and make their objections if it was not.
    CQC remains muddled about its role, primary task, boundaries, and accountability, and this poorly thought out increase in fees is symptomatic of much wider and deeper problems.

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