Care home owners face registration fee hike

The department of health has increased the cost of the fees paid
by care providers for registration with the National Care Standards
Commission, writes Katie Leason.

The basic cost of registering a home has been increased from
£1,100 to £1,320, with annual fees for care home
providers rising from a flat rate of £150 to £180, plus
£60 per bed as opposed to the previous £50.

The owner of a 19-bed residential care home in the south of
England said that the amount he pays the NCSC for annual services
has gone up by more than 50 per cent over the last couple of years,
from £874 in 2002, to £950 in 2003, and now again to

Some providers did not receive the letter from health minister
Jacqui Smith informing them of the increases until late last month,
even though the increases were coming in from April.

In her letter Smith wrote that the new fees “are minor in
cash terms”, and are “more than adequately covered by
the generous increases in funding local authority social services
in the local government settlement”.

However, many providers had already negotiated their fee levels
for the coming year with their local authorities, and will not be
able to negotiate higher levels until next year.

The Independent Healthcare Association described the 20 per cent
increase as “a scandal”. Chief executive Barry Hassell
said: “This latest cost burden on care providers will surely
see many further homes go to the wall.”

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