The rise in fees paid to care homes by the council has been criticised as inadequate by the trade body for Brighton and Hove.
Despite serving an expensive part of the country, in the coming year Brighton and Hove City Council will be paying an average rate that is more than 6 per cent below the recommended national lowest figure for the current year.
Graham Dean, the Brighton and Hove chair of the Registered Care Association, said: “The East Sussex, Brighton and Hove Registered Care Association feels that the proposed increase of 2.68 per cent to the set fee is inadequate.
“The RCA has requested that the increase should be 3.95 per cent to £578 per week.”
“This takes into account CPI (Consumer Prices Index) inflation, the national living wage increase to £7.83 an hour from April and the increased employer contribution from 1 per cent to 2 per cent from April for pension auto-enrolment.”
Mr Dean, who runs the Wilbury Care Home, in Hove, added: “The increase represents no more than to match inflation and while we do appreciate the city council’s financial difficulties it is important that this minimum uplift be agreed – particularly to maintain the profitability of care homes that rely mostly on placements from Brighton and Hove City Council.
“Laing and Buisson regularly update their benchmark fee rates and the lowest figure for frail elderly in 2017-18 is 609 per week.
“This floor figure represents older converted buildings.
“The Laing and Buisson floor figure for dementia is £652 per week.”
Brighton and Hove City Council agreed a rise from £555 to £571 at a meeting of the Health and Wellbeing Board this afternoon (Tuesday 30 January).
The council’s executive director of health and adult social care Rob Persey thanked Mr Dean for raising his concerns.
He said: “I have met with the Care Homes Association and other stakeholders on a number of occasions.
“This is part of our regular engagement with key stakeholders where we discuss a range of issues including opportunities for market development (and) the support and training we provide to the care homes at no cost to support a quality offer for residents.
“They will also be part of the ‘market position statement’ as we work in assessing the future needs for residents in this key area.
“The head of commissioning has discussed with all stakeholders the recommendations in the fees report and, while understandably they would like more, our rational was explained and accepted.
“While a significant percentage of our spend, they are only one provider – and suggesting a blanket increase if 3.95 per cent would undermine our position elsewhere in the market.
“In 2016-17 the council uplifted fee rates significantly and we compare very favourably with our neighbours.
“Please note this comparison does not include the additional support and training we provide which the CQC has been very complimentary of and is not provided elsewhere.
“Finally I have always been cautious of reference to Laing and Buisson as a benchmark considering the source for much of the sponsorship of this publication.”
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