The Registered Nursing Home Association (RNHA) has welcomed comments by the Care Quality Commission’s chief inspector of adult social care, Andrea Sutcliffe, about the importance of adequate funding in enabling nursing homes and other care providers to deliver good quality care.
Said RNHA chief executive officer, Frank Ursell: “Quite rightly, Mrs Sutcliffe has reminded the local authorities who commission social care that they need to understand what the true cost of care is, what true quality looks like and to make sure that providers are given the necessary funding to achieve expected standards.
“We, in the nursing home sector, applaud her for saying what needs to be said. Quality costs money. If the responsible public bodies, including central and local government, don’t come up with the money, then providers will always find themselves struggling against the odds to deliver what service users need. In this respect, it is a vicious circle that only the government and local authorities have the power to break.”
He added: “Sadly, in recent years the government has been going in the wrong direction. Central funding for local authority adult social care has been massively cut back. Council budgets have been squeezed like never before. Fees for publicly funded nursing home patients have been frozen or even reduced. Pressures on home owners and managers have escalated.
“It is gratifying that Mrs Sutcliffe has felt able to acknowledge the funding crisis we are now facing in the front line of social care. We hope that her words will echo around the corridors of power in Whitehall and Westminster.
“Ministers and mandarins alike cannot dismiss her views in the same way that they have generally tended to deflect those of care providers. If they have any sense, they will listen and take appropriate action.
“They need to reverse the cuts in the current financial year, which Age UK predicted to be responsible for an expenditure shortfall of £3.4 billion, and start treating care for older people as a top priority in what is supposedly one of the most advanced economies of the western world. How a society treats its most vulnerable citizens in their later years tells you a lot about its values. It is about time the government embraced the right values.”