Care homes ‘right’ to claim share of delayed discharge cash, says Ursell

The chairman of the Registered Nursing Home Association has
defended the sector’s attempts to gain a slice of the delayed
discharge reimbursement money.

Frank Ursell said it was “justifiable” for some of the extra
£50m the government has given social services departments this
year to expand domiciliary care and community beds to be “invested
back into the care homes sector”.

His comments came after it emerged that care home owners in Norfolk
want a rise in fees of £20-30 a week funded by money raised
from the fines. But the council is planning to use the cash to set
up block-booking deals with care homes for transitional beds, where
clients would stay until their choice of care home became

Homes in Suffolk also want the council to use the fund to boost
fees by £35 a week, or to pay for one-off payments to accept
people who have been waiting a long time for care beds (news, page
8, 7 August).

Tim Leadbeater, chairperson of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire RNHA,
said that, without investment in the sector, there would not be the
capacity to give transitional beds to social services. “It will
fail unless they also put substantial amounts of money into a
general rise in fees,” he said.

Ursell said the average cost of a care home bed is £459 a
week. Suffolk pays £385, and said it could not afford the
£420 care homes wanted. “They are saying 24-hour care is not
worth another £5 a day – it’s not that they can’t afford it,
they won’t afford it.”

He added that 500,000 people needed a care home place. If social
services did not pay for them he could foresee the NHS
commissioning care home beds directly. “The cost of a hospital bed
is £1,015 a week. They could save £500,” he said.

Mike O’Neill, manager of Wellington House care home in Suffolk,
said: “If I was approached by a hospital trust and offered a
realistic fee and then social services phoned, I’d offer the place
to the trust.”

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