Care fees spark revolt

Owners of nursing and residential homes across the UK have been
mounting protests over local authority fee levels. They have
targeted the discrepancy between the rates councils pay their own
homes and what they pay the independent sector.

In Birmingham, a national day of action was held at the weekend
to protest against inadequate care fees and plans to transfer the
council’s 30 care homes to a not-for-profit trust. Birmingham Care
Consortium, representing the owners of 178 independent and nursing
homes, has served notice on the council that it will not accept new
residents unless fees are increased immediately.

Consortium members currently receive an average of £252 per
resident per week in residential homes and £358 in nursing
homes, but are claiming minimum rates of £300 and £400,

“Slowly, systematically, they are putting private care homes out
of business,” said Mike Gimson, joint chief executive of Birmingham
Care Consortium.

Meanwhile, 50 nursing home owners have given Devon Council seven
days’ notice of their intention to cancel the care contracts for
council-sponsored patients. If agreement cannot be reached, the
council will have 28 days to find alternative care and
accommodation for their residents.

Devon’s director of social services David Johnstone claimed the
home-owners have already rejected a “very good offer”, representing
an increase of about 10 per cent for new nursing care placements
from 1 April, in addition to a 4 per cent increase for existing
residential and nursing care placements.

However, Mike Austin, vice-chairman of the Devon branch of the
Registered Nursing Homes Association has disputed the details of
Devon’s offer.

In Coventry, Evedale Care Home has said the council will have to
make alternative arrangements for 38 residents by 15 July “unless a
realistic price is agreed for the services which Evedale

“The company has a duty to ensure that the home generates
sufficient revenues to properly deliver standards of care which are
of the highest level,” said Evedale spokesperson Graham

“There is not a bottomless budget in this,” said a council
spokesperson. “Holding a gun to the head of older people is not in
anyone’s interests.”



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