Views sought around fairer costs for care beds
Shropshire Council has launched a public consultation to look at ways to develop a ‘fairer’ cost for residential and nursing beds.
The consultation, which started today (Monday 18 March 2019), runs for six weeks until 26 April 2019, and is open to organisations, interested parties and residents across the county.
Shropshire Council currently spends just over £50 million per year on nursing and residential care in total. The expenditure in 2017/18 excluding adult learning disabilities and mental health, was £33.3m (nursing care £17.7m, residential care £15.6m).
The current arrangements for commissioning of residential and nursing beds are being reviewed to ensure that the council can meet the evolving needs of the county’s population. This is during a time of significant change in the way that public services are funded, commissioned and delivered.
The scale of pressures for the county, including an ageing population and reduced funding from central government, means that the council needs to do things differently to make a permanent improvement for our residents and communities.
Shropshire Council have published and increased rates for residential and nursing beds annually, with a 2% increase in 2017/18 and a 2.5% increase for 2018/19. However, analysis of expenditure during 2017/18 indicates that there is a wide variance in rates paid on a case by case basis. It is recognised that the level of the rates the council currently offers have not been fundamentally reviewed for some years and consequently do not reflect current market pressures.
Lee Chapman, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult social care, health and social housing, said:-
“With continuous financial pressures and growing demands in adult social care, we must have effective commissioning arrangements to help moderate escalation of cost and to create sustainable market conditions.
“The focus of these proposals is to achieve a balance between managing expenditure and meeting demand whilst creating sustainability for the providers, choice for the individuals in the marketplace and maintaining standard of care.
“We understand that any transition to a revised pricing structure requires further exploration to understand the impact of any proposals. The consultation period gives providers and their representatives the opportunity to review, comment upon and plan for any changes.
“Feedback on this consultation will help us provide transparency and equity to support our review, and will ensure we can continue to provide a vibrant and resilient marketplace”
The demand for adult social care rises each year as people are living longer and there are more people living with complex and long-term conditions. Shropshire has a higher proportion of older people when compared with both the West Midlands region and England. In 2015, it was estimated that 23% of Shropshire’s population was aged 65+ and this compares with a West Midlands and England figure of 18% (ONS Mid-Year Population Estimates 2015, Crown Copyright, 2011). The estimates generate challenges for commissioners and providers of social care services.
Shropshire Council want to ensure future rates paid accurately reflect the costs of delivery of care, are transparent and considered equitable by providers.
We are suggesting a new approach for commissioning and funding of council-funded beds in residential and nursing care homes.
We need to work with our provider market to ensure that the way we commission residential and nursing care is fair, supports a sustainable market and allows the council to demonstrate value for money.