Care Home Boss’ Plea to New PM

Tony Stein, chief executive of Healthcare Management Solutions, has written to new Prime Minister Liz Truss to ask her to ensure that reform of health and social care will be high on her agenda.

He details several ways to support the beleaguered sector in both the short and long-term including:
• Tackling energy inflation
• Centralised funding for social care
• Recruitment

Tony said:
“Social care providers are under pressure with almost a perfect storm of significantly higher costs, squeezed fees and a lack of staff.
“There is only so long this can continue, and I implore the Prime Minister to grasp the bull by the horns and instigate some radical reform.
“Social care could help alleviate pressure on the NHS by freeing up beds, reducing bed blocking which is a major cause of long waiting times. This is just one benefit – there are many including the ability to care for our older people with dignity, not wondering how we are going to pay the energy bill to keep them warm.”

A copy of the full letter can be read below

Rt Hon Liz Truss
10 Downing St,

Dear Prime Minister,

As a Conservative Party member, please allow me to commendyou on yourelection. I wish you all the best in your new position as our Prime Minister.

I am the Chief Executive of one of the UK’s leading social care providers, Healthcare Management Solutions, with more than 20 years of experience in the sector. We operate more than 60 care homes across the UK.

While I appreciate there are major issues facing you, I hopethat health and social care will be high on your agenda.

I write to you in the hope that you will consider some of my proposals, which I think would go some of the way towards relieving the pressure being placed on UK social care providersand the economy.

Nip energy inflation in the bud
Energy is one of the key drivers of high inflation in the UK. Any subsidisingof end user energy bills is not going to help bring down the increases we’re seeing –it will just funnel more money into the pockets of predatory suppliers. Instead, I propose a subsidy ofthe wholesale market, so that suppliers purchase cheaper energy,and a review of the price cap as a result.

I expect that this willbring down costs to domestic homes, care homes and other businesses thusbearing down on inflationacross the economy.

There can be no doubt that without some drastic action ahead of October, many care homes in the UK will be forced to close due to rampant energy price increases–in some instances of up to 1,400%. A £5,000 a year bill becomes £70,000 overnight, wiping out any hope of making already squeezed care homes profitable for the owners.

Centralised Fundingfor Social Care

Centralise social care funding and use the Health and Social Care Levy to fund it more effectively. It is a Conservative principal that everyone should have access to the same opportunity, no matter where they live.

It is right and proper that this extends to the care they receive in older age. Social care could help alleviate pressure on the NHS by freeing up beds, thus reducing bed blocking; a major cause of extending waiting times.

Improve the Pipeline of Social Care Workers Through Easier Migration and Funded Training
Social careis facing a staffing crisis. We simply do not have the people willing or qualified to work in care homes. We have found hiring from abroad is prohibitively expensive with our last calculationof costfor recruiting from overseas running to £9,000 plusper persondependentupon salary and with no guarantee of them staying once here.The system needs urgent review to make it cost-effective and streamlined so it is easier to bring in carers and qualified nurses.

Even then, bringing in overseas support is not a long-term solution. What we desperately need is to develop a pipeline of homegrown nurses. Currently qualifying as a nurse requires tens of thousands of pounds of debt and hours of unpaid work.

Instead, Ipropose using some of the funding from the Health and Social Care Levy to alleviate the financial burden on studentnurses. It will take a few years for them to qualify, but we can be sure that an investment now will pay dividends in the medium to long-term.

Next steps
It has been many years since our nation has faced times as turbulent as these, and not since the end of the Second World War has there been the need for urgent, radical reform to social care.

I trust you will consider the points made. I am of course at the disposal of you and the Department of Health and Social Care should you wish to explore these ideas further.

Yours Sincerely, Tony Stein, CEO, Health Care Management Solutions