Continued concern over Continuing Healthcare
Provider representative body Care England has expressed continued concern about NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) funding for care home residents.
Care England chief executive Professor Martin Green said CHC was an essential means of ensuring the primary health needs of individuals within community settings were met and much of this care was provided in independent nursing homes.
“Yet too many Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are offering increases to CHC fees for 2018/19 of only 0.1%, arguing that they are required to do so by the NHS National Tariff Payment System Rules,” said Prof. Green.
“Yet care homes face many increases in costs not least the need to pay nurses and all staff a fair wage and provide quality training to ensure they can recruit and retain good staff.”
In a recent interview with the Health Service Journal, NHS Improvement chief executive Ian Dalton implied that amounts owed by NHS Trusts to the Government could be written off. Mr Dalton also acknowledged that a ‘significant delta’ existed between tariff prices and actual costs, adding that this would need to be addressed.
“Care homes offer high quality care and support for individuals with primary health needs as opposed to occupying long-stay beds in hospitals,” said Prof. Green.
“Decisions on fee levels are important to ensure that the system works effectively and efficiently in supporting individuals within community settings. Inadequate funding places such provision at risk. Yet even those in senior NHS roles admit that the national prices determined under the NHS Tariff Payment System are unrealistic and this for us means NHSI’s rules for Local Prices (i.e. the requirement to have regard to the cost uplift and efficiency factors applicable to national NHS prices) are no longer credible.
“CCGs should be working with care homes to fund CHC properly. Why are CCGs not taking evidence from the sector on CHC cost increases or properly consulting? This situation cannot continue and NHS leaders should be clear to CCGs that the ‘national price inflator’ of 0.1% is not appropriate to local prices for Continuing Healthcare.”