Wednesday 16 February 2011
Community Care have undertaken a survey of 238 social care providers which reveals that two-thirds had their fees cut this year and 81% expect their fees to be cut further next year. As a result of this, over half of the providers expect they will be forced to reduce the level of support they offer to service users as a result of this.
A number of leading figures in the care industry have voiced their concerns.
Des Kelly, executive director of the National Care Forum said "I would say that would have a very significant adverse effect on the number of people who receive care. It would be a disastrous outcome for the sector."
Colin Angel, head of policy at the United Kingdom Homecare Association, said: "A rapid reduction in provider numbers could force some users into more expensive services, including acute hospitals."
Frank Ursell, chief executive of the Registered Nursing Home Association, said there was already a lack of capacity in nursing homes. "Local authorities would not commission care in a double room if they could help it, so the fact that we have double rooms at all is a sign of the lack of capacity."
"It’s wrong to think that there’s significant margins to achieve these efficiencies," said Kevin Gallagher, deputy managing director at the Continuum Care and Education Group, a children’s care service provider.
Richard Jones, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said spending on care providers formed the biggest part of adult care budgets, meaning they could not be immune from the cuts councils had to make.
"Councils will be doing all that they can do to protect the frontline," said Jones. "But we are doing this in the context of the biggest reduction in local government funding for decades at a time of increasing demographic demand when the government, too, acknowledges that the current system is not sustainable and a new settlement is needed."
Choosemycare.com feels that this article shows how important it is that providers look to develop their businesses and change the way their services are marketed and priced, both to make them more readily available to private sector patients and also as part of their preparation for the continuing rollout of personalisation, which will see more of the Council funded Social Services being chosen by individuals who have been given personal budgets.
The Community Care article includes a case study from choosemycare.com member Everycare Central Hampshire:
Case study: Everycare on the price pressures facing domiciliary care
Everycare in central Hampshire has this year already dropped its price for half an hour of domiciliary care by 10% from £9.90 to £8.90. Mike Frizzell, its managing director, said Hampshire Council officers were already quoting £5.99 as the lowest price for care, pressuring him to match it.
"We just couldn’t go to that price full stop. We would be losing money," said Frizzell. He said that providing care in the area at that rate would involve cutting corners on quality and time. "We would just withdraw from the market if they will only pay that price," said Frizzell.
He said that low rates of pay already make it difficult to find good staff because the smart ones quickly worked out they could get more money in another industry.
Frizzell said he feared if prices got lower there would be two tiers of care, where the council would only pay for poor quality care, and private individuals, whom Everycare charges £11.10 per half hour, would still be able to afford good quality services.
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