Whilst many will be rightly rejoicing the Government’s 6.2% increase in the National Living Wage from April 2020 – this isn’t good news for care homes or their residents.
In fact it can only really lead to one thing – more closures.
The majority of care assistants and associated ancillary staff are automatically entitled to the rise – that’s fifty percent of staff in a home like mine.
But the wage bill increase doesn’t stop there.
Higher salaried workers will feel aggrieved as they won’t be entitled to the pay rise so how do you keep their loyalty? It’s a very unfair situation as they need a pay rise to maintain the differentials between different roles.
In my home, this pay increase is going to end up costing us around an additional £72,000 per year.
That leaves a gaping hole in our accounts.
So where are providers like me expected to find this money from?
Well that’s the reason why homes are having to close as they can no longer stay viable. The Government gives us this directive via the National Living Wage increase but they don’t give us the tools or resources to do it.
One solution is to increase the amount elderly residents already fund themselves.
Any person who has more than £23,250 in assets must fund their own care privately. The only help available from the government is attendance allowance – if an elderly person meets the criteria for it. If they manage to successfully fill in a 31-page form, they can get between £58.70 and £87.65 a week.
The NHS offers some funding to a very small group of people who can meet the criteria to say they require a Qualified Nurse 24/7. But even this is only £165.56 per week.
With the average care home fee in Sheffield being over £700 per week and nursing beds being over £1,000 a week, it doesn’t go very far.
I think it’s a dreadfully unfair situation that penalises the elderly that have worked hard for their money, lived through war and poverty, studied and become professionals and saved their money to pass on to their own families.
So ok, you will be thinking, don’t bother saving money for your old age, as you end up worse off. Well actually you don’t regarding the standard of care.
Those who’ve worked hard, but for whatever reason, have been unable to build up that pot of money, do get help with funding from the Council. However, it’s not enough. The current amount Sheffield will fund for a care home placement is £481 a week. They are currently in the process of negotiating an increase in this rate, with care providers in Sheffield, but their top proposal is only 4.16%.
So, what will the providers do? They will be left with no option, but to cut staffing levels or cut the budget for food, incontinence pads, cleaning products etc etc.
Broomgrove is proud of the high standard of care we provide and the high percentage of nursing staff we have for residents.
These elderly people have paid their National Insurance and taxes all their lives and may not have used the NHS that much, as they are the generation that didn’t go to the GP’s, but now they need that help, it isn’t there. We are very lucky we have the NHS in this country, it’s just a shame there isn’t more help for elderly people. Do you know it costs the NHS on average £400 a day to keep someone in hospital? Ever thought about giving that to care homes?
Without additional income, care homes will not be able to offer the levels of care required whilst remaining solvent.