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Fees For Private Care Homes Reviewed

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News: Fees For Private Care Homes Reviewed

Friday, 26th March 2004
(PR 1205)

- Local survey highlights national concerns -

Lancashire is leading the way in addressing a national issue - the future supply of residential care homes for older people - following a new report published today.

Local authorities and care home representatives have welcomed the conclusions from an independent report reviewing the 'appropriate' fee levels paid to private residential and nursing care homes in Lancashire.

The survey of 278 care homes across the county, published today by Laing and Buisson, was commissioned jointly by Lancashire County Council, Blackpool Borough Council, and Blackburn-with-Darwen Borough Council in efforts to identify appropriate fee levels that all three Councils and their PCT partners should aim to pay for fully compliant care home places.

The Fair Price for Care exercise has been fully supported by Lancashire Care Association, the body representing all independent care providers in Lancashire.

Laing and Buisson's suggested model for setting 'appropriate' fees is based on four main components of care home costs using local and national benchmarks including staffing costs, repairs and maintenance, land values, capital costs and other non-staffing costs.

The overall findings show that all three councils in Lancashire are allocating as much resource as possible in fees but are, by and large, experiencing the same funding difficulties and shortfalls as other local authorities across the country in fully meeting Laing and Buisson's recommended price for care home placements.

Phillip Mickelborough of Laing and Buisson, explained in the report:

"We have found that providers and purchasers have recognised that Social Services currently do not have the resources that would allow them to pay the full fair price for care home places."

The report, however, has provided Lancashire's authorities and the LCA with a flexible model that can now be used as a basis to assess appropriate local fee levels and develop ways to improve commissioning arrangements for future care home provision.

County Councillor Chris Cheetham, cabinet member for adult services and health, who is leading the report said:

"This report is the first major piece of joint work between Lancashire County Council and Lancashire Care Association in addressing this very important issue.

"Despite the County Council's overall budget increase of 6.4% to £122.54m to cover fees for private residential care for next year, we have to accept that we do not have the funds to meet Laing & Buisson's appropriate fee level. The findings show this is the same for all three local authorities and is clearly a national issue that needs further debate."

Ken Nolan, Chairman of Lancashire Care Association, added:

"The Lancashire Care Association welcomes this independent report, which shows the genuine difficulties care homes are experiencing - with fees falling short of the true costs of providing care. The report recommends the councils pay the care homes the fair fees identified within the report in order to stabilise the market and ensure an adequate supply of good quality care home places for state-funded clients now and in the future.

"We are pleased that Lancashire County Council has agreed to commission this report and of their commitment to meeting the fair price for care figures over time. Clearly the results show that the next stage must be to jointly lobby central government for the necessary resources to fund the high levels of quality care that our vulnerable service users need and deserve."

Executive Member for Social Services Maureen Bateson and Blackburn with Darwen Care Home Group said:

"Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and the Blackburn with Darwen Care Home Group were pleased to take part in the Laing and Buisson survey. The Council operates a quality scheme to assess the standard of care and services being offered by providers and uses this framework to indicate the level of payment made to homes. We will now work together to develop this framework. We will interpret the findings to reflect local circumstances and ensure that a sustainable supply of quality assured care provided by a suitably skilled and remunerated workforce is available for residents of Blackburn with Darwen to choose from."

It is suggested Lancashire County Council will carry out a similar review of fees paid to domiciliary care providers.

Notes to editors:

* The Fees in Care Homes for Older People in Lancashire, Blackpool and Blackburn-with-Darwen has been prepared by Laing & Buisson for the exclusive use of the above Councils and local care home representatives.

* During December 2003 and January 2004 Laing and Buisson undertook a survey of care homes in Lancashire in order to identify wage rates locally to assess the appropriate gross fee levels that all three Council and their PCT partners should aim to pay fully compliant care homes.

* Laing and Buisson is the UK's leading independent provider of authoritative data, statistics and analysis on the UK health, community care and childcare sectors.

* The full report can be found at www.lancashire.gov.uk/social_services/

For further information please contact: Andrew Lynn on 01772 534372

andrew.lynn@ssd.lancscc.gov.uk


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