Essex County Council’s proposed fee framework for people living in care homes is not adequate to keep homes open, according the sector. With the introduction of the National Living Wage and residents with higher dependency care home providers are facing higher costs. In some local authorities, such as Essex, it seems providers are expected to subsidise the local authority.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, the largest representative body for independent care providers said:
“Without adequate resourcing care homes will simply cease to exist. They cannot afford to run at a loss. Essex County Council needs to ensure that it funds the cost of care otherwise there will be closures leading to unnecessary stress on many of the county’s most vulnerable people and their families. Care homes are of course a vital part of the local economy providing employment and also the backbone to the NHS”
Whilst Essex County Council says it has conducted a very thorough Costs of Care Exercise whereby they benchmarked how much it cost to support and deliver care to residents of residential and nursing homes, it says it is unaffordable to increase all rates to the cost of care. As a result some people will have their fees raised to meet the costs of care while others will not.
Martin Green continues:
“There seems little point conducting a costs of care exercise without adhering to the results. Our members have a good working relationship with Essex County Council and want to work with them to ensure that their residents are in a position to be in receipt of the best quality care. It is however unsustainable for a council to conclude what it costs to fund care then pay less than this cost, and expect the independent sector to fund the difference”.