Provider association underwhelmed by Solihull’s 16.5% increase in fees
Caring Times, April 2014
From April 2014, Solihull Council is increasing the fees it pays to residential and nursing care homes for older people and people with dementia, by up to 16.5%. The uplift in will cost the Council £805,000 more in 2014-15. The additional cost will be paid for from the existing adult social care budget.
The decision was taken by Cllr Bob Sleigh, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, at a council meeting in February. It means that maximum fee levels for older people’s residential care will increase by 16.5%, to £439 per week. Fees for residential care for people with dementia will increase by 16.3% to £508 per week. Including NHS funded nursing care, council funding will rise to £615 per week for older people’s nursing care and £661 per week for nursing care for dementia. This represents increases of 14.3% and 16.4%.
Cllr Sleigh said the revised care home fee levels were a significant increase on existing fee levels.
“They show our commitment to sustaining affordable quality in the residential and nursing care sector in Solihull,” said Cllr Sleigh.
“We have worked closely with local providers to achieve a sustainable longer-term settlement, based on a fair price that is affordable, which improves transparency and recognises how much things cost.
“As well as benefiting providers, this increase is also intended to reduce the burden on Solihull residents and their families to fund third party top-up costs. With the new fee levels we expect top-ups to reduce by £275,000 and this cost will be met by the Council.”
West Midlands Care Association (WMCA) chief executive Debbie Le Quesne was moderate in her response.
“Research by WMCA on fee levels within our area suggests that the increase of 16.5% payable from April will generally be well received,” Miss Le Quesne told Caring Times.
“I would add, however, that my comments regarding the uplift following the KMPG report findings, are not necessarily wholly representative of those whom will benefit from such payments. Solihull has been a low paid area for a considerable time, and while any upwards shift is very welcome, I would point out that the increase does little to offset the business dislocation caused by serious past deficits. The Authority now recognises that their fees were historically too low, but not surprisingly, they’re not being back-dated.”
Miss Le Quesne the Solihull fee increases, while welcome, still fell short in realistic economic terms, of the true cost of delivering the quality residential care, which currently had to be supported with cross-over payments from private clients and their families.
“What is encouraging in the bigger picture is that this move, following on from a hike in Birmingham fees, is a clear indicator that Midlands Authorities are starting to understand more of the costs involved in caring and acknowledging their fiscal responsibility in sustaining care quality,” she said.