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Council pledges 3% hike in nursing home fees

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Wigan Council has announced a 3% hike in nursing home fees to combat rising financial pressures on providers.

Under the proposals, standard care home fees are to increase to £411 in 2017/18 from £399 in 2016/17.

Joanne Willmott, assistant director for provider management at the council, said: “There is a real commitment to make sure our care homes are great places that deliver compassionate care for our residents.

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“The challenges facing the nursing and residential sector are not unique, and in Wigan Borough we have a plan to work with providers and with our partners to deliver the very best care.

“The increase in fees will enable us to have high quality homes with a valued and dedicated workforce.

“The deal is about connecting people with their local communities. The transformation of care homes will see them as community assets, enabling people to live a good life, supporting people with very complex needs and keeping people out of acute settings.

“As part of the wider offer for care homes, last year we also introduced our £1m Innovation Fund which providers could bid for to help us make sure our care homes are fit for the future.”

Currently, there are 50 homes with 29 providers operating across the area, including one council operated home.

Of the 50 homes, 35 (70%) are rated Good by the CQC and 14 (28%) Requires Improvement with one home still to be inspected under the new regime.

Only 10% of homes in the region, support people with nursing dementia needs.

A council report noted the lack of purpose-built homes in the area, with the use of adapted properties presenting increased challenges and costs.

“There remains an issue around a lack of ensuite accommodation and the significant number of shared rooms, as opposed to single rooms,” the report noted.

It highlighted an overreliance on small scale ownership with the market dominated by owner and operators with only one or two homes.

“Access to available capital for investment is limited and discouraged by low financial returns,” the report noted.

Care home providers recently expressed their outrage at Birmingham Council’s failure to increase its fees (see EXCLUSIVE: Fury at council fee freeze).

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The author Lee Peart

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