Care England has added its voice to growing anger over this week’s hike in CQC fees for care homes, call it “yet another Government-induced blow to the care sector, which is reeling from the introduction of the new national living wage and auto-enrollment, among other cost increases”.
Professor Martin Green, OBE, chief executive of Care England, joined the National Care Association in criticising the CQC for brushing aside advice from industry experts before springing its new fees on care homes.
“The fact that CQC did a consultation, which they acknowledged has been ignored, is even more evidence of the arrogance of the government and its “arm length” bodies,” says Mr Green.
Care England has always accepted that the CQC would have to become less of a burden on taxpayers by raising fees to care organisations, but warns that the regulator must now raise its game to ensure that the organisations paying for its inspections feel they are getting value for money.
“Now the cost burden of regulation has shifted from the government to the care sector, the CQC is going to have to sharpen up its act and deliver a much more efficient, effective and timely service to care providers,” Mr Green urges.
“The CQC will now be in a customer supplier relationship with the care sector, and we will expect to see value for our money and clear service standards on response times, and factual accuracy amendments,” he adds.
David Behan, chief executive of the Care Quality Commission, admitted that the new fees would not be popular. “We understand that the scheme that has been put forward is not the one the majority of those who took part in our consultation would have preferred,” he said.
The new fees will see a £451 increase in CQC’s annual fee to £4212 for a care home with 26-30 residents.
The fee varies depending on the size of the care home, with larger homes paying more per resident than smaller operators.
The CQC has provided an online calculator so that operators can work out the fees they will have to pay.
A typical care home with 61-65 residents – often considered an optimum size for business returns – will be charged £9,913 per year from April 1, roughly £157 per resident per year.
A 90 bed care home will pay £15,499, or £172.21 per resident per year.