Provider representative body Care England, in the face of opposition from Essex Council, is proceeding to judicial review of the fee rates Essex pays to independent care home providers.
The judicial review brought by Care England seeks to challenge the lawfulness of the Council’s fee setting decision in respect of the ‘old contract’ and its refusal to review the rates under the ‘new contract’.
Care England believes the Council’s actions to date to be a breach of its responsibilities under the Care Act 2014.
Care England chief executive Professor Martin Green said the association was deeply concerned about the Council’s conduct towards the care home market within Essex and as a result, the sustainability of that market.
“This is an important challenge in support of providers in Essex and those new and existing residents receiving care,” said Prof. Green.
Caring Times, April 2017
UK families say that care services for children and older people have got worse in the last five years. But they reserve their harshest criticism for care of older people, particularly home care services, according to reviews reported to Good Care Guide.
More than two-fifths of reviews of home care agencies in 2016 rated them as poor or bad for quality of service and for value for money. This is particularly worrying given government policy is for more older people to be cared for at home and supported outside hospitals or care homes. Based on an analysis of 9,000 reviews left by families on the Good Care Guide website, the latest research shows:
– In 2012 22.7% of home care agencies were rated poor or bad for quality of service by older people and their families
– by 2016 this … Read More »
Health and social care integration has been less successful than expected, says the National Audit Office
Caring Times, March 2017
The National Audit Office has warned that progress with integration of health and social care has, to date, been slower and less successful than envisaged and has not delivered all of the expected benefits for patients, the NHS or local authorities. As a result, the Government’s plan for integrated health and social care services across England by 2020 is at significant risk.
In the face of increased demand for care and constrained finances, while the Better Care Fund, the principal integration initiative, has improved joint working, it has not yet achieved its potential. The Fund has not achieved the expected value for money, in terms of savings, outcomes for patients or reduced hospital activity, from the £5.3bn spent through the Fund in 2015-16. Nationally, the Fund did not achieve its principal financial and service targets over 2015-16, its first … Read More »
An article published in the Health Service Journal in late February suggests that the Government will ask the Care Quality Commission to oversee use of additional funds for care, expected to be announced in the March budget.
Although a government source is reported to have said the plans were ‘speculation’, several sources with knowledge of the plans said talks were taking place between the Treasury, Department of Health and the CQC.
Sources with knowledge of the talks are reported to have said the CQC would be tasked by ministers with inspecting how councils use the money. The intention is to provide assurance to the Treasury that the money will deliver measurable improvements – both for social care users, and to the NHS, by helping to reduce delayed transfers out of hospital. The plans are expected to be announced when the Government delivers … Read More »
Caring Times, February 2017
National disability charity Sense has backed a call for urgent cross-party review to address sustainability of social care sector. The charity has welcomed calls from three Commons committee heads for an urgent cross-party review to find a sustainable solution to the current social care funding gap ahead of the next spending round.
The social care sector is currently running at a substantial deficit, which is estimated to hit £2.6bn per year by 2020. Sense, which supports deafblind people and those with complex needs, has been calling on the Government to deliver urgent funding to plug the sector’s unsustainable gap and help protect the future of the vital social care services. Richard Kramer, deputy chef executive of disability charity Sense, said: “The stark warnings on the fragility of the social care sector are finally hitting home and we welcome … Read More »
Caring Times, February 2017
A social care leader is calling for the authorities to put prejudice about the private sector in to one side to solve the crisis facing the NHS this winter. Mario Kreft, the chair of Care Forum Wales, stressed the need for everybody to work in partnership following the publication of a report by the Welsh Assembly Health, Social Care and Sport Committee into “winter preparedness”.
According to Mr Kreft, the key findings chimed with what Care Forum Wales had been saying more many years. The report’s first recommendation was that there needed to be more integration between the health and social care sectors and that, crucially, the independent sector needed to be part of the solution The report also highlighted concerns about the financial viability of the sector in the light of the many care home closures which … Read More »
Caring Times, February 2017
Following revelations that the Government is considering allowing local authorities to increase council tax to boost social care funding,the King’s Fund’s assistant director of policy Richard Humphries said the increasingly threadbare nature of the social care safety net was taking an unacceptable toll on older people, their families and their carers.
“Addressing this is a key test of the Prime Minister’s commitment to a more equal country that works for everyone,” said Mr Humphries.
“Allowing local authorities to raise council tax would provide some welcome extra funding, but our analysis shows this would raise only a relatively small amount of money and would widen existing inequalities as less affluent areas are able to raise less.
“It would be much better to raise funding by bringing forward money from the Better Care Fund. Even if there is more funding for social … Read More »
Self-funding, or private-pay, care home residents are keeping the sector afloat according to the latest figures from healthcare market intelligence provider LaingBuisson.
The latest update to its Care Cost Benchmarks toolkit has found that the average fee per resident paid to care homes falls short of the real costs of service provision by more than £100 a week – a situation which means that those residents who pay from their own finances are filling a funding gap of £1.3bn a year.
Headline figures from the toolkit show that residential care homes in England for older people, which employ average levels of staff at average pay rates, currently need to charge fees of between £648 and £590 per week in order to generate a reasonable annual return on capital (set at 11% in the Care Cost Benchmarks model, a level LaingBuisson says is … Read More »
Caring Times, January 2017
The number of councils providing meals on wheels to vulnerable older people has dropped below 50% for the first time.
Research for the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) shows that just 48% of authorities provide a service compared with 66% only two years ago.
The NACC says under-investment is putting elderly people at risk and will place unnecessary pressure on the NHS because meals services help prevent hospital admissions and extend the time residents can live at home.
NICE (the National Institute for Health & Care Excellence) has previously identified better nutritional care as the third largest source of cost savings to the NHS.
The study, carried out by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) on behalf of NACC showed:
• The North West of England is doing the least with only 17% of authorities providing a meals on wheels … Read More »
Caring Times, January 2017
Dr Eileen Burns, the new president of the British Geriatrics Society, has called for public recognition that older people facing delays in discharge from hospital are the victims of underfunding of social care and not ‘the problem’.
Dr Burns has urged members of the public, and media to reject pejorative terms like ‘bed blockers’ and urge the Government to give social care the priority it deserves.
Dr Burns says accessible social care is a key factor in reducing hospital admissions and delayed discharges for older people. According to research published earlier this month by Age UK, the number of older people in England who don’t get the social care they need has soared to a new high of 1.2 million – up by 48% since 2010.
“There is a direct correlation between these statistics and the latest data from NHS … Read More »