Sheffield City Council is set to repeat care home funding mistakes it has implemented in previous years, according to documents presented to the Council’s Scrutiny Committee.
The Council plans to implement the same funding formula which led to a real terms cut in funding to the city’s care homes in 2020.
The financial pressures faced by homes during the pandemic compounded the historic under-funding of adult social care in Sheffield. Most care homes in the city are only sustainable if running at or near capacity and many have seen a huge number of empty beds as a result of local decision making by the Council, Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Trusts.
Decisions in 2020 led to a situation where a third of all care home beds in the city could face closure and the Council was criticised in a report for its Scrutiny Committee.
Following pressure from the Sheffield Care Association, the Council commissioned reports from experts from Kingsbury Hill Fox, Cordisbright and LaingBuisson to understand the challenges facing care homes late last year.
But officials have confirmed that care homes and councillors will only be given permission to see these reports seven days before the Council is expected to confirm changes to the support on offer.
The Sheffield Care Association has argued that its members and councillors should be able to have sufficient time to analyse the findings before a key meeting of the Cabinet on 17 March 2021.
Nicola Richards, Chair of the Sheffield Care Association, commented:
“We are very worried that the Council has decided to press ahead with a formula we know does not provide adequate funding to our city’s care homes.
“They are railroading through this decision almost regardless of what the independent reports say, meaning officials will stick to the formula they have previously used which delivers real terms cuts.
“The Council needs to treat care home residents, families and staff with the respect they deserve and ensure enough time for experts and democratically elected representatives to analyse the report findings and come to an informed decision about the true cost of care in our city.
Roy Young of Silver Healthcare Ltd commented:
“We hoped that the independent reports would ensure long-term funding of Sheffield’s care sector could be guaranteed.
“But now we are concerned that the detail of what the reports say will not match how the Council presents the findings.
“Only giving us a matter of hours to analyse the findings of these reports prior to a major decision taking place just doesn’t make sense.”