Nurses have reacted with disbelief to The Department of Health’s (DH) decision to a “derisory” cut in the NHS-funded nursing care (FNC) rate.
The DH announced this week that it was cutting the FNC standard rate from £156.25 to £155.05 as of 1 April following a funding review by audit specialist Mazars LLP.
The Registered Nursing Home Association said: “It is difficult to put into words the disappointment felt over such a derisory reduction. The Care Quality Commission in its annual report in 2016 identified that adult social care was at a ‘tipping point’. Many independent commentators have confirmed the current fragility of the sector.
“One must ask the question where does this reduction sit in the whole scheme of things? The Budget reported a £2bn increase in funding and a Green Paper in the summer to look at the whole question of funding.
“In the meantime a payment which is made to individuals, whether funded by local authorities or themselves to cover the cost of their health care needs is to be reduced by £1.25 per week ….. an amount which will probably be lost in the transaction cost of making the changes.”
Martin Green, CEO of Care England, added: “At a time when there are severe nursing shortages, and the cost base of services are rising, much of which due to increases in things the government is directly responsible for, such as the National Living Wage and regulatory costs, it is unacceptable to see the FNC rates being reduced.”
Registered nursing care for eligible nursing home residents us funded by the NHS. The FNC was raised by 40% last year following an earlier review by Mazars in 2016.
When announcing the 40% increase, the government committed to review the contribution of agency costs to the rate.
Following the latest Mazars review, the government is cutting the agency cost component of the rate to allow for lower agency costs.
The reduction is partly offset by a rise in the remainder of the rate by 1.7% to reflect nursing wage pressures.