“BACK TO THE FUTURE”
Any night of the week, there are 33000 older people in Care Homes in Scotland, and approximately 22000 of these are publicly funded. For the past 10 years these placements have been made under the National Care Home Contract.
I joined Scottish Care as CEO when the first annual settlement was being negotiated, and now as an Associate I’m working on the Reform of the Contract, to put in place the framework by which Care Home provision will be commissioned, funding levels determined and placements made for the next 10 years or longer.
Get it right and hopefully it will deliver improvement in both service quality and business viability. Get it wrong, and an already stetched and fragile sector, could be severely impaired. Whatsmore, the reform of the Care Home contract is likely to have a knock on impact on the reform of Care at Home.
But staying where we are is not an option: change has to happen. The local planning and commissioning environment has altered significantly with the advent of the new Integrated Health and Social Care Partnerships. The needs and dependency levels of residents have shifted over time.
The role of Care Homes, the services on offer, and the expectations of service users and their families have grown and developed, together with the demands of Regulation and Inspection. Partly as a response, the business models underpinning the sector have also adapted, with much tighter margins and pressure on investment. And, as if this wasn’t enough, we are going through the most challenging period in terms of the public finances for a generation.
Any new set of arrangements has to respond to all these factors, and find a way of combining the protection and efficiency of national benchmarking and negotiation with a new emphasis on local planning and flexibility. Moreover, we have to have at least the bones of this teased out and agreed by the end of the autumn. A tall order, yes, but potentially achievable, providing we have the continued support and commitment of all parties.
Watch out for updates and make sure you are fully connected to Scottish Care: The Bulletin, the Website, Branch Meetings, and of course, Yammer.
For me, retirement can wait, it’s time to power up the De Lorean and get back in there!
Associate, Scottish Care