Care budget soars as council juggles coronavirus costs

Placing more people in care homes to help ease the pressure on hospitals has contributed to an extra £10 million bill for Brighton and Hove City Council.

A report on the extra spending for adult social care is going before the council’s Special Policy and Resources Committee meeting next week.

Last week the government announced an extra £600 million for councils specifically for adult social care.

Brighton and Hove expects its share to total £2.75 million which follows the emergency funding of £16.2 million already allocated to Brighton and Hove by the government.

This compares with the £139 million budgeted by the council just three months ago for adult social care in Brighton and Hove this year.

At the meeting next Wednesday (27 May), councillors are being asked to approve plans to ensure the officials gather case-by-case details of all the extra covid-19 costs for each care provider.

The report said: “The additional temporary adult social care funding announced by the government to recognise the cost pressures caused by covid-19 may cover issues such as higher dependency levels, higher staff sickness absence rates, higher costs due to greater volatility of support packages and PPE (personal protective equipment) costs.

“The support is initially for a three-month period with effect from (Wednesday) 1 April 2020 with the expectation that it will be extended further if significant issues persist.”

The council said that it was in daily contact with care homes and was visiting carers to monitor costs and help with extra support.

There are 58 nursing and residential care homes for older people in the city as well as 30 specialist homes for people with learning disabilities and physical disabilities.

To help the many care providers and nursing providers in Brighton and Hove, the council is spending about £600,000 a month to supply them with extra PPE free.

The report said: “This is a significant monthly cost to the council but the need for providers to look after the safety of their workforce and the care needs of our most vulnerable residents is paramount.

“Most residential and nursing care homes and other providers are benefiting from this provision which has been provided to date on a no-cost basis.”

The council is also paying a premium of up to 19 per cent for care home and nursing home places which are having to be “spot purchased” to help support hospital discharges.

Home care companies are now paid in advanced for their planned hours rather than the hours actually worked to help provide financial security during the pandemic.

The report said that this would cost an extra £273,000 and would come out of the covid-19 emergency response funds.

And some of those leaving hospital required new home care packages to free up space for coronavirus patients.

The report gave a breakdown of the extra costs for adult social care

  • £3 million to house rough sleepers from April to June including food and security
  • £10 million from additional demand, predominately from hospital discharges, in 2020-21 after NHS England funding ceases
  • £273,000 for domiciliary care providers as a result of paying for planned hours from April to June
  • £1 million loss of income from fees

The Special Policy and Resources Committee is due to hold a “virtual” meeting on Wednesday 27 May from 4pm. The meeting is expected to be webcast.

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