At 19:30hrs this evening, ITV Tonight will screen ‘Growing Old: Care in Crisis.’
The programme will investigate the funding problems to delivering good quality, state-funded care and makes extensive use of survey research commissioned by the UKHCA and supported by Right at Home and other providers.
The survey reveals how independent and voluntary sector homecare providers receiving low fees from local authorities could be forced into withdrawing from care, or going out of business. Right at Home operates largely in the private sector because we are very rarely able to operate a quality care model with the funding provided through social services.
The UKHCA gathered data from a total of 492 homecare providers in the UK, with 63% of them trading with one or more local authorities. Many providers have indicated that they are already forced to hand back contracts for people’s care to their local authorities which purchase them, because prices paid are uneconomic.
Strong evidence suggests that the homecare sector faces significant instability over the next year. 74% of providers trading with councils stated that they would have to reduce the amount of publicly funded care they deliver. This is estimated to affect 50% of all the service users they support.
Only 38% of providers were completely confident that they would still be in operation at the same time next year.
In a warning to local councils, providers’ willingness to bid for new contracts could be at risk. 50% of those with a tender opportunity with a council decided not to bid for at least one of the contracts on offer because they felt the price the council would pay successful bidders was too low to run a viable business.
Colin Angel, Policy Director at the UKHCA said:
“A stable, effective homecare sector is vital to over 883,000 older and disabled people who rely on home-based care each year. The low fees paid by local councils and a lack of funding for the new National Living Wage, places the future of the homecare market in an extremely vulnerable position.
“Rapid withdrawal from the homecare sector will create an additional burden on underfunded councils, who should be prioritising care for people who rely on home–based care, not dealing with local market failure to which they themselves have contributed.”
The full report from the survey can be found at: http://www.ukhca.co.uk/downloads.aspx?ID=486
A write-up of the ITV programme can be found at: http://www.itv.com/news/2015-10-07/hundreds-of-home-care-providers-pulling-out-of-state-funded-care/