Budget: Chancellor announces social care funding boost

Care Home Professional, 30 October 2018

Philip Hammond today announced a £650m funding boost for local authorities for the provision of adult social care for 2019-20. He also pledged an additional £45m for the disabilities facilities grant in 2018-19, and a further £84m over the next five years to expand children’s social care programmes to 20 further councils.

Read more: Budget boost for social care not enough, sector bodies say.

CQC State of Care Report 2018

October 2018

Most people receive good care but access to this care increasingly depends on where in the country you live and how well your local health system works together. Nine out of ten councils in England could see a shortfall in care home places by 2022. Care leaders responded with a call for urgent government action. The report also said 73% of the 141 locations where it enforced closures in 2017/18 were in adult social care services, with criminal prosecutions at record levels.

The challenging operating environment for adult social care resulted in 869 services go out of business in 2017/18. The struggle to recruit and retain staff was highlighted as a leading cause of closures. The sector job vacancy rate rose to 8% in 2017/18, up from 6.6% in the previous year. Nursing saw the highest vacancy rate of 12%, up from 9% in 2016/17. Turnover of care staff rose steadily between 2012/13 and 2017/18 reaching 31%. The rate was particularly high for care workers and registered nurses at 38% and 32%, respectively.

Social Care Funding enquiry

Economic Affairs Committee, October 2018

During an Opposition Day debate on Social Care Funding Labour MPs hit out at the government in a parliamentary debate for not doing enough to tackle the ongoing crisis in social care. Commenting on a proposal for a universal social care fund Matt Hancock said ‘There is support for reform across the house, but there is support for different types of reform in different parts of the house.’

Care England submitted evidence to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee’s inquiry into social care funding. “Inadequate short term injections of cash to either bail out councils as they limp from one crisis to the next, or to temporarily prop up the NHS during winter pressures do not address the deep rooted inherent problems of the current system. The sector needs to be able to plan and invest for the long term. The stronger the understanding of the interdependencies of social care with the NHS, the stronger the chances of progress being made to create a sustainable care system.”

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Lords introduce care home manager DoLS safeguards

Care Home Management, 18 October 2018

Health and social care minister Lord O’Shaughnessy has attempted to reassure care home managers of proposed safeguards as the Lords debate changes to the mental capacity bill. In day two of the Lords committee stage of the bill, the health minister tackled concerns raised to date about the potential for the new ‘son of DoLS’ bill to introduce conflict of interest.

On the Deprivation of Liberty Standards (DoLS) pre-authorisation review, he acknowledged that it would be inappropriate for these to be completed by care home managers. Instead, a code of practice would stipulate this as a role for a qualified medical practitioner, nurse, social worker, speech therapist, occupational therapist or other profession. In addition, there will be a specific exclusion for people involved in the day-to-day care of the person or delivering treatment to them. The debate also highlighted the need for care home manager training to support the new DoLS assessment role.

Read more: Care home managers cannot be ‘judge and jury’ say sector leaders.

Care England: What a No Deal Brexit Would Mean for Social Care

Care England, 17 October 2018

Care England has submitted evidence to the Health and Social Care Select Committee’s inquiry into the impact of a ‘no deal Brexit’ on health and social care, saying “In a sector characterised by low pay and negative stereotyping we are worried that a No Deal Brexit would cut off, or restrict, the foreign workers that we need and depend upon”.

Investors still find care home sector attractive despite 'Brexit volatility'

CareHome.co.uk, 8 October 2018

The Knight Frank 2018 Care Homes Trading Performance Review reveals occupancy rates in care homes are at a record high of 89 per cent with their sixth consecutive increase. It also shows that average weekly fees have risen for the seventh successive year by 3.7 per cent to £773. Profitability stands at 28.3 per cent. Care homes in the UK remain an attractive proposition to investors, with the advisor saying it is the sector ‘least affected by Brexit volatility’.

How to prepare your Care Home for sale

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    £240 million social care investment to ease NHS winter pressures

    Department of Health and Social Care, 2 October 2018

    Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock has announced an extra £240m for social care to help ease NHS pressure this winter. The money could pay for more than 71,500 home care packages to help patients get out of hospital quicker. Allocation by local authority can be viewed here.

    Combustible cladding to be banned for new care homes

    Care Home Professional, 1 October 2018

    The Government has announced a ban on the use of combustible cladding for all new care homes. The ban, which follows a government consultation, includes all combustible materials in new buildings; however, it will not be applied retrospectively to existing buildings.

    Impact of the Care Quality Commission on provider performance: room for improvement?

    King’s Fund; 27 September 2018

    The King’s Fund has developed a new framework for understanding the impact of regulation that describes eight ways in which regulation can affect provider performance. It shows that impact can occur before, during and after inspection and through interactions between regulators, providers and other key stakeholders. The research evaluated adult social care, GP practices, acute care and mental health care. They found that in the care home sector there was little information available to support care homes to understand what best practice looks like, and how they might monitor and evaluate quality: not all authorities have quality improvement teams; commercial competition reduces a provider’s willingness to share learnings from inspections, researchers said. The full report is here and a summary here.