The Department of Health is meeting with bosses from Britain’s biggest care home groups today (Monday) to discuss the financial pressures facing the industry.
The Financial Times reports that the meeting is expected to be attended by chief executives of the biggest care-home chains, including Bupa, Care UK and Four Seasons, along with industry associations Care England.
Care England clarified that the meeting a meeting at the Department of Health this afternoon is the second meeting of a Taskforce group which has been set up earlier this year to share information with each other in an open and transparent manner.
The Taskforce is made up of lots of operators from the care home and domiciliary care sectors, as well as the United Kingdom Home Care Association and Care England. “There are no ministers at these meetings,” Care England says. Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care Engaldn is joint chair of the Taskforce, along with Bridget Warr, chief executive of UKHCA.
The Government said last week that it was actively engaging with care home operators to ensure that elderly people never fail to find beds.
It follows research by the insolvency agency Opus for BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours that suggested the total level of debt within the care home sector could lead to more than one quarter of homes closing their doors.
The Treasury in its Autumn Statement last year removed the cap for local councils wanting to increase council tax. The so called precept allows them to hike local taxes by 2% as long as all the extra money is channelled into social care.
However, some operators say they will have to stop accepting local authority-funded residents before the precept money pushes up the fees that CCGs are willing to pay.
May is a crucial month as spot contract rates with local authority clinical commissioning groups are agreed. It is therefore the perfect time to lobby for rising fees, with Westminster politicians eager to keep headlines of a crisis in care out of the headlines.