The Registered Nursing Home Association (RNHA) has added its voice to the pleas directed at central government from the GMB union and Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) to pump additional funds into the council budgets that pay for vulnerable older people’s places in care homes.
RNHA chief executive officer Frank Ursell said: “When the trade union representing care workers and the bosses of social services are both singing from the same hymn sheet, and when both are telling ministers that there is a crisis hanging over adult social care because of the draconian cuts to services that are still being inflicted, the penny must surely drop somewhere in Westminster and Whitehall.
“What I would say to ministers is ‘we told you so’ a long time ago. Massive funding cutbacks to local authorities over the past five years have been pushing the care home sector further and further towards financial breaking point. Time and time again we have repeated this message. Time and time again it has been ignored. Now exactly the same message is coming from those who commission care home places from the public purse and those who represent many of the people delivering the care on the frontline to vulnerable people.”
He added: “As ADASS has revealed, councils are apparently being forced to make an additional £32 million of ‘efficiency savings’ in the current financial year by freezing the fees they pay to care homes. ADASS correctly concludes that this is having a negative impact on staff training, staff skills and staff satisfaction. Recruitment is suffering as a result, and this can only have repercussions on the quality of care provided.
“The GMB is spot on when it calls on politicians of all parties to face up to the social care funding crisis in this country. It points out that most councils are paying below that fair rate calculated by the independent Rowntree Foundation.
“We echo the sentiments expressed by ADASS and the GMB. We call upon the Secretary of State for Health to convene an urgent forum of care organisations, local authorities, representatives of service users and independent experts in order to come up with an action plan that will get adult social care out of the mire it is currently in. Time is fast running out.”