We have, during the past few days, received many comments from industry bodies concerning the increase in fees charged by the Care Quality Commission. Aside from the increases themselves, a real point of contention was the fact that the fees are to be phased in over two years and not the proposed four years.
I noted in particular the comments made by Registered Nursing Home Association. Chief executive officer Frank Ursell who said; “The CQC ran a consultation to ask whether we would prefer a fee increase phased in over two or four years – pain sooner rather than later or pain a bit more spread out. We opted for the latter. Instead, the CQC has ignored what we said and imposed a hefty increase straight away. So much for consultation.”
A very valid point – a lip service consultation and nothing more.
The National Care Association were equally scathing: “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 fee increase, along with the National Living Wage (which is set to add £330 million in 2017), pension auto enrolment, and stagnant local council payments is creating the perfect storm. According to sector analysts, LaingBuisson, the care home sector is closing more beds than it is opening for the first time since 2005, with a net loss of 3,000 across the UK last year.
When one thinks of the net loss of 3000 across the UK last year, and considers that, according to studies, the number of British citizens aged 75+ is expected to double to 10 million by 2040, and 1.3 million people are already receiving social care services in England alone, then we really are “kicking the can down the road” for another generation to deal with.
We have, on our website, a story regarding academics from Cass Business School, City University London, who have sought to find a solution to the social care funding challenge. (Good luck with that). The solution is one which I think we have all been expecting, a charge against property, and one which I think this could be met with great opposition, and no doubt a flurry of property transfers.
Would be very interested in your comments on this, and comments generally concerning funding crisis facing care.
Editor of The Carer