Councils short-changing older citizens
Shocking new figures show how poorly essential care for older people is funded by councils. Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, has a list of 30 councils that pay less than £500 per week for an older person in an independent (charitable or private) residential care home, equivalent to just £2.97 per hour.
In addition, Care England identified that such fee levels were radically lower than those from independent research by LaingBuisson[i], which set out the average costs of an economically run residential home. LaingBuisson analysis found the cost of an economically run home was between £623 to £726 depending on standard of accommodation and whether or not they are supporting people living with dementia.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says:
“It is unacceptable that independent care homes must restrict the pay and conditions of their staff and subsidise care which councils underfund. Ultimately independent care homes may close with the terrible consequences for residents forced to find new homes and staff losing their jobs.”
Moreover, Care England FOI analysis showed that there some councils within the above list of 30 Local Authorities paying less than £500 to independent care homes and at the same time giving own Local Authority run homes much higher rates. For example, one council was found to be giving over £650 to their own homes, versus, less than £500 to the independent sector homes.
Martin Green continues:
“It cannot be right that older people in independent homes are treated so differently when they are aiming, as all independent homes are, to provide good quality care with well paid staff. The recently announced significantly increased 2020/21 rates for the National Minimum Wage will put even more stress on underfunded homes and means paying homes under £500 for residential care can simply no longer be justified”.
Care England has written to all of these 30 councils to ask how they plan to ensure care is better funded in future.