Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, has expressed disappointment that the rate of NHS Funded Nursing Care increase announced for 2018/19 of 2% will not meet the huge pressure being felt in the nursing home sector.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England says:
“Whilst we recognise and welcome that this is an increase in the rate it does not address the current cost pressures for nursing in our sector. What we need to be clear on is that the cost of the rising dependency of nursing needs of residents exceeds the proposed rate rise. The shortage of nurses – over which we have no control – means that recruiting nurses is a costly challenge along with increasing agency costs associated with rising nurse vacancies.
The cost of employing nurses is rising with auto pension enrolment and other staff costs – we need to retain our nurses and offer the best employment packages possible. This linked with the rising number of nursing hours needed to meet care needs mean that central Government is not supporting our sector sufficiently”.
Care England will carefully consider the Department of Health and Social Care’s promise of a further review for 2019/20, but it must encompass the implications of the Welsh Supreme Court case on Forge as well as fully assess the cost pressure on the sector.
Martin Green continues:
“We believe that Forge has significant implications for the rate that have not been accounted for in the current 2017/18 rate and any review must ensure that future rates account for underpayment in this 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years as a result of Forge. In addition, the unknown NHS nurse pay award for 2018/19 is a further concern especially if it is a departure from past awards.”