Care home owners face hike in fees

Care providers are having to pay more to register with the National
Care Standards Commission.

The Department of Health has increased the basic cost of
registering a home from £1,100 to £1,320. Annual fees for
care home providers have risen from £150 to £180, plus
£60 a bed, a rise of £10.

The owner of a 19-bed residential care home in southern England
said the fees he paid the NCSC for annual services had risen from
£874 in 2001-2, to £950 in 2002-3 and £1,320 in

Some providers did not receive the letter from health minister
Jacqui Smith informing them of the increases until late last month,
by which time they had already negotiated the coming year’s fee
levels for local-authority funded residents.

Smith wrote that the new fees were “minor in cash terms” and were
“more than adequately covered” by the generous increases in social
services funding in the local government settlement.

The Independent Healthcare Association described the 20 per cent
increase as “a scandal”, adding that the NCSC had underspent by
nearly £13m in 2002-3.

The NCSC confirmed the underspend, but said it had been unable to
carry this money over to the new financial year.

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