This month the UK’s 5 biggest care home providers (BUPA, Four Seasons Health Care, HC-One, Care UK and Barchester) have raised concern about the impact of raising the National Minimum Wage on the sector.
Now I’d be first up to say that no-one should be working in healthcare for less than the £7.20/hour that is being introduced in April 2016, but is the sector ready? Looking across the UK the average cost of a care home place (in England) was £615/week. The money paid on average by most local authorities was just £511/week (a £104 shortfall). There are no plans to increase the amount local authorities are prepared to pay for services, so if the wage bills, which accounts for 60% of most care homes costs do rise; where is the money going to come from? Are we in danger of putting care home care beyond the reach of many older people, as care home companies consider reducing the number of care home places they are prepared to give to Local Authorities? Or worse, consider closing because on the current fees they no longer have a sustainable business?
It is time working condition improved in our care homes in order to improve staff pride, attract better staff, improve retention etc…; but I don’t think its going to happen unless the underfunding of providers is addressed very soon.
See: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/20/english-care-homes-facing-financial-ruin-say-councils if you want to read more about this.
Are things any different in Scotland? You can always visit:
http://www.scottishcare.org/ to find out.