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
    use.

    “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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