Many tens of thousands of care home residents in England are still waiting to find out how much they should have been receiving since 1st April 2016 from the NHS towards the weekly cost of their nursing care – with no date yet having been set by the government for exactly when they will know or when the money will start being paid to them. The RNHA says the continuing delay is unacceptable and places additional pressures on older people and the care homes that look after them.
Chief executive officer Frank Ursell commented: “Whether or not the rest of their costs are publicly funded, every resident of every nursing home has a right to funded nursing care.
“The rate should have gone up in April to reflect rising costs and the outcome of an independent survey commissioned from outside accountants. But no extra money has been forthcoming. The Department of Health simply talks about something happening ‘shortly’, whenever shortly is.”
He added: “It is difficult to fathom out what is going on in the corridors of power. Are mandarins’ minds excessively focused on Brexit or political party leadership contests? How long does it really take to decide on the increase that people in nursing homes should be receiving from NHS funds to cover the nursing element of their costs?”
The RNHA does not believe the existing NHS contribution – set since April 2015 at £112 per week per nursing home resident – adequately reflects the cost of the time spent by registered nurses in meeting residents’ needs or in supervising the work of other care staff in meeting those needs.
Care homes that provide nursing care participated between November 2015 and February 2016 in a survey undertaken for the Department of Health by accountancy firm Mazars. The aim was to calculate as accurately as possible the costs of employing registered nurses and to review whether those costs are higher in care homes providing specialist services.
Said Mr Ursell: “We are beginning to wonder whether the survey report has embarrassed the Department of Health by indicating, as we suspect, that the NHS contribution to residents’ nursing costs in care homes has been under-estimated over many years.
“Something is causing the delay in announcing and paying the rate for 2016/17. Yet another case of older people with multiple needs being made to wait by those in positions of power. Nothing new there, you might say. Pretty typical of the way things go generally.”
He concluded: “What we are saying is – give the elderly a date for a decision, give them an explanation why it’s late, give them a fair deal and give them the money they are owed without further procrastination. Is it too much to ask?”