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Care leaders stunned by council ‘funding cuts’

Consumers Feel The Pinch With Christmas Around The Corner

Care leaders have said Sheffield City Council has effectively cut social care funding by failing to pass on emergency government funding during the coronavirus crisis.

Care England said the council had failed to pass on the recommended 15% in uplift in finances to care homes and when taking into account minimum wage and inflationary costs was in effect cutting funding in real terms.

Local provider Nicola Richards, from Palms Row Health Care, wrote to the council earlier this month, saying: “We are in the midst of a public health emergency and it is unbelievable that the council has actually cut what they pay us to deliver a vital service. Why have we not had any additional funding yet to deal with this pandemic?

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“The care sector was woefully underfunded in Sheffield before COVID-19 hit. This has put further pressure on a sector in crisis.”

Care England said the council’s funding stood in stark contrast to Shropshire which has given care homes a 10% increase and Barnsley, where the council is offering cash grants during the crisis to care homes. Hampshire has also adopted a raft of measures to support the care sector.

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England said: “Care homes are on the front line of a national health emergency and local authorities have been given extra money by the government to support them. Local authorities should be working with care providers and they should be delivering the money that has been given to them directly to the front line.”

Cabinet member for Health and Social Care at Sheffield City Council George Lindars-Hammond, said: “Sheffield City Council has provided fee uplifts for all local authority funded places in care homes in the city this year.  These fee uplifts fully cover the extra minimum wage increases along with a range of other care home costs – these other costs account for the fact that the headline percentage increase is less than the minimum wage increase.

“We have advised all care homes that the council is agreeing a process of provision of additional cover to Covid-19 related costs. We are also providing a range of other support to some care homes, including using our own staff to cover shifts where providers are experiencing issues with staff sickness.

More details on the uplift to care homes can be found in the cabinet paper which is available here: http://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?ID=2489

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The author Lee Peart

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