Scottish Care calls for urgent Government intervention to protect care homes
Each year Scottish Care as the representative body of providers of care homes for older people is involved in discussions with Cosla and representatives of the new Integrated Health and Social Care Boards (IJBs) to set the annual fees for nursing and residential care in Scotland.
This year these discussions have reached a particularly challenging position and are at the stage of virtual collapse. The offer made by Cosla and the IJBs is limited by the funds made available to them by Scottish Government and the impact of a reduced Local Government Settlement.
Scottish Care believes that it will be impossible for its membership, which includes several hundred family run care homes and many care charities, to accept what is in effect the offer of a 1% increase, without putting their homes at very real risk of closure.
Scottish Care has argued for some time that there is a chronic underfunding of the care home sector in Scotland which endangers the delivery of quality care and support to our older population. We believe that this is essentially about the dignity, value and worth of our older population. Failure to adequately fund their care needs speaks volumes about what priority we give to older people and demonstrates that inherent ageism exists in our society, particularly in our approach to social care provision.
Dr Donald Macaskill, the Chief Executive of Scottish Care stated today:
“It is with very deep regret that we have decided to make public the virtual breakdown of our discussions with Scottish Government and others. We believe that it is no longer acceptable for us to remain silent about the lack of investment which the Government is prepared to make in the care home sector in Scotland. Despite new monies being allocated in England following last week’s budget there is no indication that Scottish Government will seek to benefit social care in Scotland.”
“In recent months providers have been faced with substantial increases in the cost of fuel, food and other commodities, averaging around 8.5%. A 1% increase will simply not enable care homes to stay in business. Together with that many nursing homes are finding it impossible to recruit nurses. We have a 1 in 4 vacancy level and to meet gaps care homes are having to pay as much as £800 a night to find a nurse.”
Dr Macaskill highlighted that:
“I recognise that we live in hard times faced as we all are with austerity and public sector cuts. But at present a nursing home is allocated only £3.85 per hour for the 24/7 nursing care of thousands of our vulnerable older people, the majority of whom are in a palliative or end of life context. For me this isn’t so much about finance but about the price we are prepared to pay for preserving the dignity of our older Scots and enabling them to exercise choice and control over their options for high quality care provision.”