Care England, a representative body for independent providers of social care, has again expressed its disappointment over the paltry fee offers from Local Authorities (LAs) and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England says:
“Yet again, Local Authorities and CCGs are only now beginning to make their fee offers to care providers. It is unbelievable that we are in this position again. If the care sector is to plan efficiently to provide the necessary high quality care it is unfathomable as to how this can happen with such a time lag, uncertainty and of course negligible or zero uplifts”.
With the Green Paper on Social Care looming it has never been more apparent the strain that the health and social care sector is under. A degree of professionalism is therefore needed from Local Authorities and CCGs where fee offers are made promptly at the beginning of the financial year rather than a month, or more, later.
Whilst most fee rates for 2018/19 remain a mystery, a few LAs and CCGs have issued notices about what they will pay for care home placements this year. Of those known, there is already a worrying trend of rates not keeping pace with rising costs – putting increasing pressure on an already fragile care market. Examples include Bromley CCG (as with many other CCGs) only awarding a 0.1% uplift and Staffordshire County Council offering a 1.0% uplift for existing residents. However, what is even more worrying is the increasing movement towards reverse auctions, such as that by Birmingham City Council, which drives down prices paid and treats individuals as commodities.
Martin Green continues:
“These incredibly low fee offers demonstrate that health and social care simply are not held in the same regard. There needs to be parity of esteem between the health and social care workforce. Skills, effort and experience count for a lot and should be remunerated beyond the National Minimum Wage. The wages and career progression on offer to the social care workforce should be proportionate to its contribution to individuals and society in general in equal measures to that afforded to the NHS staff. We are urging our members to work with their newly elected councillors to alleviate the situation before it is too late and the bottom falls out of the market leaving untold repercussions on the NHS”.