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Proposed changes to residential and nursing home fees

Herefordshire Council’s cabinet will consider proposals to change the usual price it pays for places in residential and nursing homes, when it meets on 12 June 2014.

The council pays residential and nursing home providers to care for older people who are assessed as having eligible need and therefore qualify for local authority funding.  There are currently some 400 residents having their residential or nursing care paid for by the local authority at a cost of about £10 million a year.  Within Herefordshire, over two thirds of those who live in a residential or nursing home pay their own fees.

The council has a duty to ensure that the price it pays for the care it provides, using tax payers’ money, recognises the actual cost of providing the care, the local authority’s ability to pay and best value.  In order to meet all of these criteria the council is proposing to make some changes to the current rates. 

The pricing policy has been the subject of a review over the past 12 months.  The review has considered a range of local factors such as the  cost of living in the county, land costs, transportation and the actual cost of providing care. The council also took account of the price authorities similar to Herefordshire pay for their care.

As a result, cabinet will be asked to consider recommendations to change the price the local authority pays for the places it commissions in residential and nursing homes as follows:

                                               Current weekly fees           Proposed weekly fees

Residential and Dementia care    445.89                                451.75
Nursing homecare*                    570.24                                518.00

*Nursing home care providers will also receive a further payment for funded nursing care from the NHS which is currently £112.70 per week.

Helen Coombes, director of adult wellbeing at Herefordshire Council, said:  “In proposing a revised pricing structure we have considered a whole range of factors, including the costs of care, the quality of care provided and the council’s duty to provide best value when setting the prices it pays for commissioned services.

“The proposed pricing structure only applies to the places purchased by the council; residential and nursing home providers are able to set their own charges for self-funders who represent the larger share of their market. 

“However, the £10million spent by the council each year on this provision has to be contained and we believe this can be done without quality being affected.  The prices we are proposing are fair and more generous than many of our neighbouring authorities, although that is not the basis for our proposals.

“Protecting vulnerable people is one of the council’s main priorities and we are working hard to help people have more choice and control over how their care needs are met.  At the same time, we are trying to help people remain independent for as long as possible so that they can continue to enjoy a good quality of life within their local communities. 

“When people are assessed to need residential and nursing home care, it is vital that we are able to find them good quality care at a fair and reasonable price.”

If approved, the new prices will be brought in with effect from 1st August 2014 and will apply to new services users.  All existing council funded service users will remain on the current rates so will not be affected by these changes.

Tags: Health and social care