The Local Government Association are calling on the government to ensure that the uplift in the National Living Wage is reflected in the November Spending Review.

They point out that funding the National Living Wage will make a significant hole in their budgets should more money not be forthcoming. They also point out the additional pressures that the DoLS legislation has put on Councils. SECHA applauds Councils for speaking up and drawing attention to the problems that lack of funding is creating – see|SCSC|SCNEW-2015-0902

However, Care Homes have been doing the same for several years. Fees have been reduced and work pressures increased. Unfortunately whilst Councils may have been sympathetic to our plight, it has not resulted in any increased funding. There is a widening gulf between what the state is prepared to pay for Social Care and what privately funded individuals are prepared to pay to ensure their loved ones are properly looked after in their twilight years. Many Homes are charging increased fees to privately funded residents to subsidise the low fees Councils’ are having to pay.

Unfortunately there are no signs to suggest this gulf will not increase. Councils are looking to place the most vulnerable in our community into Homes which offer the best value for money. They wish to appoint agencies to look after the most vulnerable in their own homes which offer the best value for money. The term ‘Best Value for Money’ means getting the lowest price for the highest outcomes. Councils are being forced to come up with ever more imaginative ways of reducing fees to Care Homes to fill the hole in the Social Care budget . As a result Care Homes are being forced to accept low fees should they wish to accept Council funded residents.

Councils are now placing vulnerable adults on £64.00 a day or less. You won’t even get a decent Bed and Breakfast for that! Frankly in the context of a Care Home, that doesn’t give sufficient to reinvest in the Home to maintain and improve the facilities and to put in adequate and well trained staff. Some Homes will end up firefighting until the day they either close because they cannot make ends meet or they are forced to close. The privately funded Homes will be able to reinvest in modern facilities and train their staff to look after the residents properly. This will be a two tier social care system. Those can afford it will have a Home of their choice which can offer modern and well maintained equipment and environment. The state funded adults will be offered the adequate Home but with no frills and basic environment. This is not the future, it is already happening.

As to the future? Is SECHA wrong? Perhaps there is sufficient funding in Social Care. But on £64.00 or less a day what do you think? How will historians and economists look back on these days and judge us? As looking after our most vulnerable in the community by properly funded Social Care, or as the nation which introduced large institutionalised no frills Homes to put the old and frail into.

You decide.

Talking to the people about our people.