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By Debbie le Quesne

Lords-Commons report on fee levels welcome

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The UK Homecare Association, one of the professional groups representing care providers, has this week welcomed a report by the Joint Committee of the House of Lords and House of Commons on the Draft Care and Support Bill.

The Bill will become the main plank of social care legislation – effectively replacing many statutes from the last 60 years and the three Private Member’s Bills which form the cornerstone of carers’ rights.

It was published in July last year alongside the Caring For our Future White Paper and a progress report on social care funding. And if there is fair wind in Parliament, it may just become law by 2015.

The Association particularly welcomed the joint committee’s recommendation that local authorities should take account of “the actual costs of care” when setting providers’ fees. This seems a little radical in the light of current fee negotiations.

It also welcomed the committee’s call for Government to have the necessary powers to deal with “unacceptable” commissioning practices such as 10-15 minute homecare visits.

Published in Care Industry News, Bridget Warr, Chief Executive of UKHCA, said: “Homecare providers in the independent and voluntary sector are under pressure as never before. 

“Their desire to provide sensitive, safe and dignified care is, in many cases, threatened by the lack of resources available for those people for whom care is commissioned by Local Authorities. 

“Fees to providers have been relentlessly driven down to a point which fails to recognise the real costs of delivering high quality care through well trained, consistent staff that are adequately paid.

 “If we wish to develop the full potential of the homecare sector and deliver safe, dignified care, local authorities must pay fees that reflect the true cost of service provision, including recovery of recruitment costs, workforce development and a sustainable pay-rate that retains and develops a skilled and qualified workforce. 

“This will be essential to meet the needs of an ever-increasing elderly population.”

The joint committee also found support from Coin Angel, UKHCA’s Policy and Campaigns Director who has given evidence to the Bill’s Committee.

 “We agree with the Joint Committee that short visits are not suitable for personal care, except in very limited circumstances.  It is not realistic for councils to expect person-centred care delivered in a dignified manner in a 10-15 minute homecare visit.  Last Year, the Association published a highly critical report, ‘Care is not a Commodity’, highlighting the way councils are putting vulnerable and older people at risk by cutting the times allowed for homecare visits.”

I am heartened to face a snowy weekend in the knowledge that such sense is prevailing within the Lords and Commons. The big question, however, is: Will it prevail in the Cabinet?

Have a good weekend.

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Written by debbielq

March 22, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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