This latest report follows ‘The Care Crash’ [July 2016] published by the National Care Association, which warned of the sector facing a potentially ‘perfect storm’; reductions in local authorities commissioned beds, shortages of qualified nurses and care workers, the introduction of the national living wage for staff and an increasing reliance on self-funding clients. The impact of all this will put many care homes under unprecedented pressure.
The Kings Fund/Nuffield Trust Report recognises that ‘signs of provider stress are increasing’, with two thirds of local authorities reporting home closures in their localities over the past 6 months. It also highlights the fact that 28% of care homes are ‘at risk of financial failure’. The landscape for home-care services are also highlighted as being challenging with just under 60% of tendered contracts being handed back to local authorities due to their being economically unsustainable.
The National Care Association has consistently highlighted the challenges of recruitment and retention of social care staff despite the introduction of the NLW
National Care Association’s Chairman, Nadra Ahmed OBE, believes that in addition to the financial dilemma this is a potentially crippling issue for social care where the need for Registered Managers, Qualified Nurses and auxiliary workforce is one of its biggest challenges. ‘Provider confidence in their ability to deliver quality care services to some of the most vulnerable people in our society, people with ever increasing and complex health and social care needs is being undermined. We are fearful that one of the greatest unintended consequences of national and local government policy relating to social care will create a two-tier care system. Providers are beginning to recognise that to maintain standards they will need to explore the option of having exclusively privately funded clients, which would leave a huge gap for commissioners to grapple with.’