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By Debbie le Quesne

Posts Tagged ‘National Care Association

NCA survey to help strengthen fee negotiations

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Our colleagues at The National Care Association want our help to strengthen the case for better local authority fees.

The aim is to harvest key information about settlement trends over the last five years in in each area they represent.

It’s emerged that last year when the NCA was meeting with a group of care homes about local authority fees in the South East, homeowners there were able to pinpoint exactly what the increases had been over the previous four years and the proposal from April 2014.

  • In this five-year period the breakdown was:
  • For two years, an increase of 1 per cent each year
  • For one year an increase of 0.5 per cent was agreed
  • For two years no increase at all was offered

Clearly over a five-year period they had therefore received an increase of 2.5 per cent in total. 
 Inflationary increases in care homes have risen at 3 per cent each year, according to the NCA.

With an effective inflationary drain at 15 per cent, in real terms the care home operators in that region had suffered a 12.5 per cent loss.

Fired by this financial cameo, the NCA has asked members to take part in a survey to identify key fee increments in operational costs against the local authority settlements.

Filling in the form is a five-minute job and anything that strengthens our arm in negotiation a more prosperous future must be worth our time.

I’m sure chairman Nadra Ahmed OBE and Sheila Scott OBE, the chief executive, will appreciate our cooperation.

Please click here for the survey.

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CQC: A new way of inspection

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The National Care Association has been fighting the corner for care providers as the regulators finalise details for their spring consultation on their new style of inspections.

Everything will be rolled out in the autumn, but until then we can only hope that the Commission is listening to what we have to say.

The NCA attended a “re-consultation workshop” to ensure that “the voice of the smaller independent sector” is heard.

Along with the National Care Forum and UKHCA, the national team challenged CQC to ensure that any proposed changes to inspection regimes were fair, proportionate and delivered equitably across the country and across provider types.

Already plenty of debate has been aired and in the mix with the care experts are the Royal College of Nursing and advocacy groups such as Age UK. Hopefully, our voices will be heard.

Under proposals so far the CQC inspectors will focus on five key areas, known as lines of enquiry (LOE). These are: Is an organisation Caring, Safe, Effective, Responsive and Well-led?

These enquiries will be judged taking into consideration personalisation, care, staffing, premises and equipment, quality and management, nutrition, health, involvement and infection control.

Central to everything is user engagement in designing the right framework for inspection and provider engagement is fundamental to improving quality, the workshop heard.

This all sounds good and a viable alternative to the tick-box inspections we currently go through.

I despise the ‘us and them’ culture that is so endemic regarding the relationship between CQC and care providers. Thankfully it is slowly changing. Let’s hope we can build on this with the inspection charter.

Huge boost in numbers seeking residential care

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Christmas over and the reality of work dawns as we run into New Year . . . I always find this an odd time – sandwiched awkwardly between the celebrations of Christmas and New Year’s Eve, with so many people having to work but not yet recovered from their festive break, it’s a period that somehow has never really been defined.

Why is Christmas such hard work? And why do we need another holiday to recover from its madness?

Despite the seasonal hype, sadly there’s still plenty of gloom about if you wish to find it, but I’m all for a boost in spirits as the care sector embraces 1014. Goodness knows we need tonic.

The online newsletter put out by the National Care Association heralds January 1 with this heartening news: “Huge rise expected in the number of people looking for care homes after Christmas.”

Care home directory site carehome.co.uk, which helps people search for care homes in the UK, predicts nearly half a million extra people will visit its site in January looking for a care home. Wow – that’s an awful lot of potential new business and scarily, a huge amount of need.

I quote: ”Carehome.co.uk has seen a dramatic increase in traffic in January over the last three years, with an extra 395,868 visitors to the site in January 2013 and an extra 386,734 visitors in January 2012.

“It is often when families get together over the Christmas period that they realise their elderly relatives are no longer coping and need proper care – which could be one explanation for the spike in traffic to the site.”

Director of carehome.co.uk, Davina Ludlow, is reported saying: “Over recent years we have noticed a significant trend during January with a huge rise in the number of people searching for care homes after the Christmas period.

“We feel this increase is a reflection of how family members take positive steps in the New Year to assist their relatives.”

It’s clear that the spike in traffic demonstrates not only that older relatives are spending time with family during the festive period but also the increased need for residential care in the UK.

Being with elderly relatives at over a prolonged Christmastime provides a natural benchmark for measuring gains and losses and of course, the season becomes a time of reflection for those, as they say,  ‘of an age.’

Carehome.co.uk gets over 15m visitors to its site every year and is the leading online directory for care homes.

ECCA and NCA announce merger – and about time too

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The two largest social care provider representative bodies English Community Care Association (ECCA) and National Care Association (NCA) have today announced today they are merging.

With a new name – it will be called Care England – the body will operate from January 1, 2014. I know some will get all watery-eyed over the seeming passing of the two organisations, but frankly, I think it’s a great move.

Sir Digby Jones has always maintained the care sector needed a united front and that fragmentation hindered our cause. Here we have fantastic example of common sense prevailing, while simultaneously creating much sharper tool for care sector lobbying.

In a joint statement the two chairman Nadra Ahmed OBE and Jane Ashcroft said: “Our sector faces a period of considerable challenge which will require robust representation on behalf of our membership. For some time now our two organisations have been working together so it felt like the natural next step in our relationship. We believe that combining the two strong and respected organisations together will strengthen the voice of health and social care and give our membership a wider range of services”

The two CEOs, Sheila Scott OBE and Prof. Martin Green OBE said: “We welcome the opportunity to bring the wealth of experience of the two organisations under one banner and work together to make Care England strong and vibrant and a one-stop shop for providers to support them in delivering a quality service.

“Additionally, for the first time we will be able to demonstrate the strength of the united purpose which has brought us together and both of us welcome the opportunity to work with as many providers as possible to deliver a representative body which will be a powerful influence in the social care through the 21st Century”

Care England hopes many local, regional and national groups will welcome the chance to work with them to make the voice of the sector stronger and stronger.

Quite apart from the significant saving on resources, duplicated work and ending divided ‘brand’ loyalties in the regions, the merger hopefully will be a wake-up call to ministers that the industry is consolidating in a single chorus of demands.

I cannot even begin to think just how much more effective this union will be. True, it is a momentous step, but one that’s probably decades overdue. This really is a case where less is more: more efficient, more powerful, and more empowering to the care sector generally.