A meeting will take place today between care home owners, councils and related charities to discuss how best to avoid the crisis that will be caused if many care home operators are forced out of the sector.
A Local Government Association representative, Councillor Izzi Seccombe said of the crisis: –
“There is already evidence that lack of funding is leading to providers pulling out of the publicly funded care market and shifting their attention towards people who are able to fully fund their own care.”
If, as is feared, a significant number of providers pulled out of the publicly funded care market there would be a hole in the market which would need to plugged. Southern Cross Healthcare’s collapse lead to the need to place over 37,000 in other homes. The CQC has a strategy which should provide warnings in relation to the financial health of a large organisation but doesn’t seem to have a plan in the case of an industry collapse of a large number of smaller care homes.
Today’s meeting comes less than a week before George Osborne announces his Spending Review and Autumn Statement on 25 November 2015. This review is important as it will set the amount of money available to local authorities to place individuals who need it within social care. Councils have managed to deflect the previous round of spending cuts announced in 2010 away from children’s and adult social care. Council leaders are calling time on this strategy as there is little room for further efficiency savings without taking an axe to social care budgets. The social care funding of Councils will be hoping for additional funding in next week’s spending review but is likely to be subject to cuts in the region of 20%.