Care England has called for newly elected councillors to get to grips with care home fees with many local authorities (LAs) and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) having still to make offers for the current financial year.
Professor Martin Green OBE, CEO of Care England, said most fee rates for 2018/19 remained a mystery with only a few LAs and CCGs having issued notices about what they will pay.
Martin said: “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.”
Care England said that most offers that had been made had failed to keep pace with rising costs, putting increasing pressure on an already fragile market.
It cited 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.
Care England also highlighted the increasing trend towards reverse auctions as introduced by Birmingham City Council, which drive down prices and treat individuals “as commodities”.
“These incredibly low fee offers demonstrate that health and social care simply are not held in the same regard,” Martin said.
“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.”