The Care Quality Commission has announced a hike in fees that will face all care homes from tomorrow.
Just a few days before the raise comes into effect, the CQC said that the public consultation on fees that started last year was over, and that the cost of full inspections will be borne by the care homes that it regulates within two years.
The two year horizon is far tighter than the four years care home associations had called for during the consultation, admits the CQC, but said that central Government wants to end taxpayer subsidies for the inspection regime as soon as possible.
“The responses CQC received expressed a strong preference for the four-year option. However, following the Government’s Spending Review, the level of grant-in-aid available to CQC for 2016/17 is such that in order to fulfil its statutory functions, CQC has had to recommend the two-year option to the Secretary of State, except for dental and home care providers. The Secretary of State has consented to these recommendations,” a statement from the CQC says.
The new fees will see a £451 increase in CQC’s annual fee to £4212 for a care home with 26-30 residents.
The fee varies depending on the size of the care home, with larger homes paying more per resident than smaller operators.
The CQC has provided an online calculator so that operators can work out the fees they will have to pay.
A typical care home with 61-65 residents – often considered an optimum size for business returns – will be charged £9,913 per year from April 1, roughly £157 per resident per year.
A 90 bed care home will pay £15,499, or £172.21 per resident per year.
David Behan, chief executive of the Care Quality Commission, admitted that the new fees would not be popular. “We understand that the scheme that has been put forward is not the one the majority of those who took part in our consultation would have preferred,” he said.
“In order to achieve our requirement to the Government and commitment to the taxpayer, we need to work towards reaching full cost recovery while reducing our overall budget by at least £32 million.
In May, the CQC will publish its strategy for the next five years, which Mr Bevan says will set out how it will be “an efficient and effective regulator with fewer resources”.
“It is important that while we make efficiency savings, we can continue to carry out our role effectively. Over the next five years we want to develop our approach so that providers of services get more value from the work that we do, by sharing data about the quality of services and highlighting good practice,” he explains.