‘So much for consultation’ say providers in the wake of CQC fee increase
Care providers have expressed their displeasure at the Care Quality Commission’s recently announced fee increases. Speaking on behalf of nursing homes across the country, the Registered Nursing Home association (RNHA) has expressed its bitter disappointment that the Care Quality Commission is putting up the fees it charges them to be part of the regulated care market.
RNHA chief executive Frank Ursell said the CQC had run a consultation to ask whether it was preferred for a fee increase to be phase- in over two or four years – pain sooner rather than later or pain a bit more spread out.
“We opted for the latter,” said Mr Ursell. “Instead, the CQC has ignored what we said and imposed a hefty increase straight away. So much for consultation.
“To make matters worse, the increase we are having to absorb from the CQC is far above the rate of inflation and comes on top of the 7.5% we are obliged to find to meet the cost of the new National Living Wage and the 1% pension contribution we have to make towards the new auto-enrolled staff pensions. So the CQC fee hike couldn’t have come at a worse time.
“To compound it, we have local authorities wringing their hands and telling us not to expect anything above around a 2% increase, if we are very lucky, in the amounts they are willing to pay for the publicly funded residents we care for on their behalf. It sometimes feels as though the CQC are happy to hammer us about standards whilst not acknowledging the financial pressures to which we are relentlessly subjected by national and local government.
“Ironically, the CQC claims it is having to impose pain on us because its own grants from the government are being cut. Yet no allowance is made by the CQC for our financial problems – one law for the bureaucrats and one law for the care providers.”
Provider association Care England has made a similar response, saying there was little point in consulting the with sector and then disregarding the response
“As with the responses from the last 2015/16 fees consultation, we do not feel that our voice has been heard,” said Care England chief executive Professor Martin Green.
“Fee rates of this magnitude are neither fair nor proportionate. The decision to increase fees over two years instead of four years goes against the majority of responses to the consultation and we question the point of consultations in this case”.
Care England has also taken issue with the principle of full cost recovery which, if applicable to the regulator should also be applicable to providers who should receive fees from LA and CCGs that meet the costs of providing the care.
Dr Rhidian Hughes, chief executive of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) described CQC’s consultation on fees as “a complete farce”.
“Our members have wasted considerable time and resources engaging with the regulator only for our views and perspectives to be ignored,” he said.
Details of what care providers will have to pay in regulatory fees are set out on the CQC website. They vary depending upon the number of beds a care home has. Percentage of increase in each case do not appear to have been provided.