Care home owners set to refuse referrals as they reject ‘final offer’

Care home owners in Scotland have rejected an offer on fees from
the Scottish executive and the Convention of Scottish Local
Authorities by six votes to one.

The postal vote will now be followed up with a final vote at an
emergency general meeting of representative body Scottish Care next
week and could lead to a campaign of disruptive action.

The executive has insisted the offer of an extra £80m for care
home fees is not open to further negotiation and will be withdrawn
completely if agreement is not reached.

In 2001, home owners accused local authorities of keeping the rates
they paid “unrealistically low”. In order to quell the threat of a
nationwide ban on all local authority referrals, the executive
promised an extra £17.5m in July 2001 to be distributed
between councils. Care home owners accepted this on the
understanding that more money would be forthcoming the following

The executive then provided a further £24m and Cosla £3m,
allowing fees to increase by £27 per resident per week from
April 2002.

At the time, chief executive and chairperson of Scottish Care Joe
Campbell told the executive a further £80m was needed to meet
the recommendations of the National Review Group, set up to assess
the true cost of caring for an older person in residential care.

But the 800 members of Scottish Care are claiming the latest offer
is no longer sufficient to cover new standards on staff training
and accommodation introduced under the new Care Commission.

“My view is one of disbelief that the executive and Cosla have
talked incessantly about the need for discussion, yet refuse to
talk about the real costs involved in caring for the elderly and
vulnerable members of our society,” said Campbell.

The executive and Cosla insist that the final offer of £80m
meets the recommendations of the National Review Group. They said a
total of £125m of additional public funding had been provided
or offered since 2001.

Meanwhile, Argyll and Bute and Dundee Councils have given notice of
their withdrawal from Cosla, citing the care home fees dispute.
Glasgow, Falkirk and Clackmannan Councils have already withdrawn
from the convention.

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