Rising fees will not solve shortage of care home places, directors says

Julia Ross, chair of the Greater London Association of Directors of
Social Services, has warned care home owners that increasing rates
will not solve the shortage of provision of beds in the capital,
writes Derren Hayes.

It follows a survey of nearly two thirds of London councils which
found nearly three quarters believe they do not have enough care
home places in their boroughs, while the average occupancy rate was
95.5 per cent – it is recommended it should never exceed 90
per cent. Care home owners argue low rates discourage them from
investing in new places.

Ross said that while she sympathised with care home owners they
needed to provide more flexible care packages for commissioners to

“London Directors will be making a collective response to the Kings
Fund Care Commission Inquiry shortly. As a commissioner for Barking
and Dagenham, I would certainly want to see the sort of more
imaginative solutions advocated by community care minister Stephen
Ladyman, rather than more of the same,” she added.

The survey by Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Simon Hughes also
found that 40 per cent of all care home placements are outside
their local area with placements in Essex, Kent and the Shires.

Average fee levels are £21 a week below those demanded by
residential homes and £33 below those demanded by nursing
homes. Current weekly fee levels paid by local authorities ranged
from £355 to £450 for residential care and from £460
to £580 for nursing care.

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