Research, expected to be released by LaingBuisson on Monday 14 April, suggests that a move to allow greater use of third party payments to part-fund care places could mean that more people actively seek out places which have a higher price tag than those typically funded by councils. This despite plans within the Care Bill which would bring about a dramatic shift in the number of clients who are eligible for local authority support. The report claims as such the legislation could herald an increase in so-called top-up funding by care homes residents
Independent Age’s view:
The LaingBuisson report is right to highlight the increasing importance of so-called top-up funding to care homes. Last year, it was estimated that 56,000 people were paying top-ups and Independent Age has estimated that they could be worth as much as £400m a year.
Independent Age has argued for some time that some councils are effectively turning a blind eye to homes negotiating ‘third party top-up’ charges with residents’ relatives – thereby keeping down the amount councils themselves have to pay.
The Care Bill will greatly increase the market for top-ups because residents will for the first time be allowed to top-up their own bills and not have to rely on their relatives. It will be critical that the guidance and regulations supporting the Act are tough enough to stamp out the potential for malpractice by councils and care homes.