An article on You&Yours today explored the situation in Staffordshire where the local authority was threatened with a Judicial Review if it continued to offer residential care home payments at less than the cost of care.
This has been the case for years: care homes win a contract with the local authority to provide beds for local authority referred residents. The local authority however uses the fact that they have block bought beds to pay less than the amount a self funder would pay. Of course this riles self funders and their families and quite rightly – why should they pay more than the person sitting next to them who is receiving the same care, food, heating and laundry services? They are essentially subsidising the people whose costs are being paid for by the local authority.
The Staffs local authority representative denied that the Judicial Review was what has prompted them to make a change and asserted that they had been considering amending the system for some time. He added that some homes might not welcome a change to the status quo as the local authority would start to look at quality of care before awarding contracts to homes if anychanges go through. I fail to see the disadvantages of this and imagine any decent care home would too. Any updates on this story will be posted as and when…watch this space.