By Debbie le Quesne

Funding issues of care make the news – at last

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I never thought I would say this, but I suddenly love the Daily Telegraph.

Today is presents the findings of a study by Prestige Nursing, a care agency, which shows the average cost of a place in a care home in England now stands at £28,367 – more than double the income of a typical pensioner.

And according to the Telegraph, “bills have risen by more than nine per cent in the last two years, at a time when the fees councils pay to care homes for those who are unable to fund their own care has not risen at all in many areas.”

This news has seldom come into the public domain and I’m saddened that the readership of the Telegraph is not greater.

According to research the average cost of a room in a care home in England has risen by £963 or 3.5 per cent in the last year – just above inflation.

The article adds: “But over two years the total increase is 9.3 per cent or £2,414. In the South East, the most expensive region, the average annual bill stands at £32,048, more than £7,400 more than that in the cheapest area, the North East.”

Unfortunately, this particular newspaper has skipped the huge Midlands area, but I’m still getting the message . . .

Quite rightly, the report points out that “care home operators say that they have no choice other than to charge a higher rate for self-funders or face going out of business because cash-strapped councils have been squeezing the rates they pay.”

A study by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services confirms the findings, showing that 45 per cent of councils admitted that they had not increased the amount they pay care homes even in line with inflation this year.

Long-term I worry about what will happen to care for the elderly, long-term sick and those with severe disabilities.

Michelle Mitchell, director general of Age UK, is quoted in the article, saying: “As the cost of care continues to rise we fear that many older people will simply decide that they cannot afford care support and will struggle on alone with the possibility of a disastrous result.

“Older people’s health and dignity are being put at risk as many end up struggling financially as they subsidise a social care system on the brink.”

The devastating financial implications of funding care now and in the future is scary.

And as the article says: “More and more are having to pay a greater share of the cost of social care, either because they have been pushed out of the system as a result of tightened eligibility thresholds or because of increased fees and charges.”

“This is an area of real concern.”

We are warned that the cuts so far have not gone deep enough with another £11.5bn planned.

What will become of us?


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