Whilst many will be rightly rejoicing the Government’s 4.9% increase in the National Living Wage from 1stApril 2019 – this isn’t good news for care homes or their residents.
The majority of care assistants and associated ancillary staff are already paid the National Living Wage and are automatically entitled to the rise.
In my home this equates to an increased wages bill of £34,000 per year. This is because around fifty per cent of my staff are eligiable for the rise.
It is a similar story in other care homes across the counry.
But the wage bill increase doesn’t stop there.
Other workers in care homes will feel aggreaved as they won’t be entitled to the pay rise so how do you keep their loyalty? I think it’s a very unfair situation and they need a pay rise to maintain the differentials between different roles.
That leaves a gaping hole in our accounts.
So where are providers like me expected to find this money from?
Well that’s the issue. 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.
They don’t seem to worry about care homes going bust up and down the country as a result of the changes.
One solution is to increase the amount elderly residents already fund themselves.
Any person who has more than £23,500 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 £57.30 and £85.60 a week.
But the average care home fee in Sheffield is £643 (2016/17) per week, so it doesn’t go very far.
It is predicted by 2020, there will be over 3000 people over the age of 85 living in care homes in Sheffield, with another 11,700 being cared for at home by family members.
I think it’s a dreadfully unfair situation that penalises the elderley 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.
They haven’t saved it to pay an average of £643 a week to be cared for. And if they want the best care that they deserve this can be over £1,000 a week.
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 being cared for.
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 £463. They are currently in the process of negotiating an increase in this rate, with care providers in Sheffield, but their top proposal is only 3.98%
At this point, may I remind Sheffield City Council that the British Government, who they in theory work for have increased the national living wage by 4.9%!
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 standards we provide and the high percentage of nursing staff we havefor residents. So it was a shock to hear about the experience of a nurse we recruited from another home in the city.
She’d been solely responsilble for the care of 40 vulnerable old people with multiple conditions and at risk of falls. This is not an adequate level of care.
At another home, residents were served tomatoes on toast and a Maryland cookie for their evening meal. Would you really want that for your Mum or Dad?
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.