Sunday 17 December 2017
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RNHA wants action against councils that do not fulfil their responsibilties to older people with care needs

The Registered Nursing Home Association (RNHA) says it is scandalous that local authorities are failing to abide by even their basic statutory duties towards older people.

Responding to a new report from the Counsel and Care Advice Service, the RNHA said it confirmed that government cuts in expenditure were being widely used as a cloak behind which poorly performing councils sought to hide their own deficiencies. Commented RNHA chief executive officer Frank Ursell: “There are three key issues arising from the report which reflect mounting anecdotal evidence we are receiving from our members’ nursing homes around the country.

“Of particular concern is the way in which some local authorities appear to be insisting on top up payments from families towards nursing home costs, despite the fact that their loved ones’ financial circumstances mean they qualify for full social services funding. You could reasonably conclude from this that some councils are trying to pull a fast one by making people pay when, in fact, they should not be paying anything at all.”

He added: “A second major concern is the tendency for cash-strapped acute hospitals to try to eject older people into the community with inadequate discharge planning. In some parts of the country there is poor liaison between NHS ward staff and social services. As the report makes clear, in some instances even the hospital-based social
workers are being bypassed in order to get people out of beds. “This practice is not only reprehensible in its own right, it is also counter-productive. Many badly managed discharges result in relatively quick re-admissions to hospital
when community care arrangements break down. This is not good for the individuals involved, nor is it good for the hospitals themselves. In effect, it is a situation where everyone is a loser.”

Thirdly, Mr Ursell said the decision by some councils to refuse on financial grounds even to undertake an assessment of an older person’s social care needs was further evidence that the system needed radical reform.

“Such policies are flouting the law,” he said. “They also fly in the face of good
practice. Older people have a basic right to have their needs assessed, even if the
council itself does not subsequently fund the care provided.”

Mr Ursell said the RNHA intended to write to the Health Secretary and the Care Quality Commission to ask them to remind local authorities of their statutory responsibilities towards older people and to take action against those which do not comply with those responsibilities.

Source RNHA