Care home bosses push for delayed discharge cash

Fears are growing that care home providers want a slice of this
year’s £50 million delayed discharge grant before agreeing to
take new residents into their homes, writes Derren

Peter Tempest, assistant director, adult services, at Suffolk,
said care home owners are wanting ‘golden hello’, one-off payments
to accept people waiting long-term for a care bed. Some homes
already refuse to take social services referrals and others could
follow suit if fees do not increase.

In Suffolk, nursing and residential home owners are pressing for
an increase in nursing home fees by around £35 a week

However, the £50 million of which Suffolk has been
allocated £650,000, is meant to pay for expanding preventive
services and a number of beds. In some areas, local agreements have
been reached between social services, hospital trusts and primary
care trusts for the money to be pooled to improve services.

Tempest said: “It is a real threat that they are playing when
negotiating for next year’s fees,” Tempest said. “We are being
pressed by them because they know they have us over a barrel from

He said no amount for golden hellos had been set yet, but
thought it was “not outside the bounds of possibility” that it
could be up to three months fees.

The acute trusts, unhappy at the prospect of patients continuing
to clog-up hospital beds, have also “hinted” they are prepared to
use the money raised from fining social services to contract
directly with care homes for beds. The council pays £385,
while some homes want £420 – “a price we can’t afford”, but
one trusts could be prepared to pay.

Tempest said this is strengthening the care homes’ hand further
by giving the impression “there is more than one player in terms of
commissioning and more than one rate”.

“The private sector will take the highest price and this could
create an unintended competitive edge distorting the pricing
strategy, and costing millions of pounds that would not be spent on
developing the alternatives,” he added. 

Under the delayed discharge fines system, which begins operating
fully from January, unless beds are found within three days of
clients being assessed as needing one social services will be fined
£100 a day (£120 in London).

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