The Department for Health promised in July to contribute to the cost of nursing care for elderly people. In past years the NHS has provided a contribution on 1 April each year; this year it commissioned an independent review into the contribution costs to nursing care for the elderly. However, at this point in time Nursing Homes still haven’t received this funding which has left them without recourse to funds to assist with paying their registered nurses.
The required contribution from the NHS is £156.25 per person per week and this should have been introduced in April. This has resulted in the NHS failing to subsidise essential nursing care for five months. The contribution to the cost of nursing care is known as the Funding Nursing Care (FNC) rate and is paid to Clinical Commissioning Groups and Local Authorities.
Nursing Homes are complaining that there have been significant delays that are ongoing; in addition, local authorities have reduced the payment that they intend to pass onto nursing homes by £44.25 per week which reflects the increase in FNC from 2015 to 2016. This increase in payment from the NHS was a direct result of pressure from nursing homes who claimed that last years’ payment was insufficient.
Nursing Homes appear to have been a victim of their own success in leveraging the Department for Health; it does seem unfair for CCGs and Local Authorities to deny nursing homes a contribution to the fees of part private payers when it has been promised by the Department for Health. Perhaps a longer term solution to this issue would be to directly pay care homes the FNC to ensure such reductions in payment do not occur.