Some things cannot be ignored
By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON
What do we take away from the Competition and Markets Authority’s final report on the care homes sector? I think that firstly it has to be that, despite the CMA initially saying that it would not take account of funding levels, its headline pronouncement was that ‘the current system for providing care is not sustainable without additional funding’.
The CMA identified a funding shortfall of £1bn a year across the UK because ‘councils are paying fee rates for the residents they fund which are below the costs care homes incur’. The final report acknowledges that this has led to care homes propping up their finances by charging higher prices (about 40% more) to those who pay for their own care.
The report then acknowledges that uncertainty about future funding, including whether council fees will cover the full costs of care, means there is not enough investment in new accommodation for council-funded residents.
Having headlined with these points, the CMA goes on to enumerate various dubious practices which it believes some acre providers are guilty of, like being less than candid about upfront fees, ongoing liability after a resident’s death, and generally poor complaints procedures.
But it is most striking that, having explicitly ruled-out funding as an area of investigation when it first started out, the CMA has been obliged to concede that a market report which didn’t acknowledge funding issues as a primary driver would be a nonsense.
So, another report to add to the pile. Unless you’re the Government, some things simply cannot be ignored.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.