Private care home residents pay for their state funded neighbours

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

In a report published today by the Communities and Local Government Committee it has been confirmed that major funding pressures afflict the sector.  Private residents in care homes pay almost 50% more for their care than their state funded neighbours in the same location receiving the same level of care. Some key points from the report are summarised below:-

  • Councils appear to be in the pursuit of paying the lowest fee for the care they receive which damages the relationship with the care provider and becomes the primary factor rather than the provision of care itself
  • Care providers seem to be forced to charge higher fees to private residents as a result of the dominant market position that state funded payers have
  • Less than 8% of Directors of Adult Social Care are confident that they will be able to meet their statutory duties in this financial year
  • Over 1 in 4 of all care services are rated below ‘good’ by CQC
  • Within the first year of work, 47.8% of care workers leave their position
  • 49% of domiciliary care workers are on zero hour contracts, set against a national average of 2.9%
  • Unpaid carers are filling the void caused by the failure of the local authorities to provide and pay for the correct level of care required
  • Councils have been forced to concentrate on those individuals with the highest level of need and this results in fewer people being funded as they don’t meet the needs threshold

The report concludes by suggesting steps that the Government needs to take immediately, firstly to ensure that social care funding is linked to both current need and future demand; and secondly to find a way of ensuring that social care funding is sustainable.  The forthcoming Green Paper will hopefully take note of the findings of this report and use it to inform the direction of the future of social care funding. If, as the report suggests, the state is paying drastically below the true cost of care and this underpayment is being shouldered by private payers, part of the solution must readdress this imbalance.

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