The National Care Association (NCA) has reacted with cold fury at the Care Quality Commission’s hike in fees to adult social care providers, accusing the regulator of inflicting “maximum discomfort” to providers by ignoring the responses they received about the fees paid to them.
“Despite the fact that the responses ‘expressed a strong preference’ for a four year strategy, CQC has decided to opt for the two year option citing the GSR (Government Spending Review) as their reason, rather than work within a tighter financial envelope like everyone else.
“The fact that they have decided to wait to the 11th hour to let providers know demonstrates their total lack of understanding or judgement when it comes to social care provision at this moment in time; sadly this is not the first time they have done this,” the NCA says in a statement.
The association’s chairman, Nadra Ahmed (pictured above), OBE, added: “Our members have been eagerly awaiting this announcement hoping that their comments in the consultation would have been heeded, but once again we remain disappointed that the CQC has pursued its own agenda. Rewarding the Regulator with such substantial increases flies in the face of outcome-based results.
“This is an organisation which has not met its targets and has continued to fail providers who are awaiting re-inspection following one of their visits; a delay which has serious consequences for providers, despite the fact they will have rectified any failings they continue to be penalised by commissioners because of an out of date report! We can only assume that providers will receive notification of the increases they have to address in their mailboxes in good time for them to be able to comply.”
NCA accepts that the CQC should charge care operators for its service, but argues that these service providers are providing a service to the public and should draw some financial support from the public purse, especially when the care providers are facing an uncertain future in the light of the implementation of the National Living Wage.
“It is difficult to understand why CQC leave it to the very last minute to announce these increases which we assume will be implemented within days,” the association concludes.
David Behan, chief executive of the Care Quality Commission, conceded 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.