Home care services for older people are ‘being short changed'

  • A survey has found that only one in seven councils in the UK is paying a "fair" price for home care for older people.

    It is believed that around 500,000 people rely on the support of the home care service for help with washing and dressing. The UK Homecare Association poll of over 200 councils found that 28 paid a "minimum price" of £15.72 an hour, reports the BBC./images/careandsupport.jpg

    The "minimum price" has been calculated by using the national minimum wage and then adding to that the costs of running the service, including travel costs for staff and pension contributions.

    The UKHCA warned if the squeeze on fees continued, the care sector would become "unsustainable" as of the £15.74 fee, 47p is set aside for profit or surplus.

    UKHCA policy director Colin Angel said: "Low prices paid for home care carry a number of risks, including poor terms and conditions for the workforce, insufficient resources to organise the service and insufficient training for the complex work that supports the increasingly frail and disabled individuals. Unless this underfunding is addressed, the independent and voluntary sector will continue to struggle to recruit and retain care workers with the right disposition, training and qualifications. Ultimately, the care market will become commercially unsustainable."

    Caroline Abrahams, of Age UK, said the low rates were "just another symptom of a social care system that is grotesquely underfunded. Everyone is losing out as a result, care providers, front-line staff and older people most of all."

    And Councillor Izzi Seccombe, of the Local Government Association, said the squeeze on finances had "forced councils to ask providers to run services on tighter margins".

    "It is clear that continued cuts to funding for adult social care is putting an impossible squeeze on councils and providers to deliver care for our most vulnerable," she added.

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