Research by Care England has highlighted the underfunding of independent sector care homes compared with the fees paid to state-run homes.
Care England found that independent care sector, private and charitable, services were expected to provide standard residential care for less than £500. While state-run homes in both neighbouring and the same local authorities were afforded more than £700 in weekly fees.
A spokesman for the social care body said that, in some cases, 44% more was granted per resident in 2019/20 for standard residential care, even though the quality is no better in local authority-run homes.
Care England said the average costs of an economically run residential home is between £623 to £726 depending on the standard of accommodation and whether or not they are supporting people living with dementia.
In 2019/20 Manchester City Council paid fees as little as £459.74 to independent providers, while less than 20 miles away in Kirklees Metropolitan Council state-run homes received payments as high as £721.90 to provide the same type of care (older persons residential care) in the same year.
And in the case of Lancashire County Council fees provided for state-run, versus, independent sector run homes were particularly stark. with local authority-run homes receiving £656.70, versus £466.55 for independent sector providers in the same local authority.
Professor Martin Green OBE, chief executive of Care England, said the findings accentuate the lack of parity with which the independent care sector is treated
‘Such analysis only furthers the independent sector’s calls for greater oversight to be placed upon commissioning processes, these discrepancies in levels of funding cannot be justified.
‘This is not the way to promote joint working across systems and accentuates the lack of parity with which the independent care sector is treated.
‘Residents should not be affected by different levels of funding based on whether they are placed within either independent or state provision’
‘The stark divide provides further evidence of the multitude of difficulties that independent sector providers face. It is incumbent upon Government to utilise the majority granted to it, to secure the future for some of society’s most vulnerable.
‘In some cases, the discrepancies in funding levels amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds – this simply isn’t right in the context of a sector under great financial pressure.’
Responding to the report cllr Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
‘People of all ages should be able to live the lives they want to lead and councils are committed to doing all they can to make this happen.
‘The provider market is an essential part of the care and support system and councils work closely with local care providers to ensure a good quality market of services.
‘However, given the serious funding and demand pressures facing adult social care there is a known gap between what providers say they need and what councils pay.
‘The forthcoming Budget is an important opportunity to address this crucial issue of funding while looking ahead to finding a longer-term, cross-party solution to adult social care, which the government has committed to achieving and which we at the LGA are happy to play our part in.
‘Part of this solution needs to consider how best to address the recognised need for greater fairness in how care is paid for and funded.’
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