Agenda item

Progress Towards the Transformation of Adult Social Services - Fees for Residential and Nursing Homes


Further to minute 389 (19/3/09) the Director of Adult Social Services presented a report setting out additional options for Cabinet to consider in agreeing the appropriate fair fee levels for residential and nursing homes to be provided from a sustainable budget with effect from 1 April, 2009. A supplemental agenda paper set out amendments to the proposed rates for nursing care, shown in paragraph 2.7 of the report.


The Director reported that, whilst the decision to implement the reduction in fees was deferred, his department was still required to make savings of £1.5m in the area of residential and nursing care in 2009/10, and  no evidence was provided by the home owners to refute the Council’s view that:

- the fees paid by the Council were high by comparison with other local authorities;

 - there was over provision of homes in the area, and;

- as initiatives to keep people who use services at home increase there would be a need for fewer residential and nursing homes in Wirral. 


In the light of further detailed analysis and representations made by care providers Cabinet was asked to consider two options – either to freeze current rates (option 4) or pay no inflation increase and reduce current rates by 1.3%(option 5).


The Director recommended option 5 and stated that this was a fair and reasonable price for care providers to pay.


Copies of correspondence with solicitors making representations on behalf of clients who were concerned about the proposed review of charges were circulated. Mrs Lin Cooke and Mr S Kirkby presented the views of these care providers. They highlighted the impact of the proposed new fee structure (option 5) in terms of reduced income, standards of care, home closures, restricted choice of accommodation, and the effect on individuals and their families. They referred to the contract negotiations and outlined the justification for their preferred option (option4)


The Cabinet Member for Social Care and Inclusion referred to changes in the provision of care with greater emphasis on supporting elderly people at home and the development of extra care housing schemes which were expected to significantly reduce demand for residential care. She also reported upon the need for the Council to set a realistic fee structure which was in line with other local authorities and ensure best value within the available resources.


Councillor Holbrook stated that the deferment and further consultations had provided an opportunity for care providers to influence the new fee structure. He also welcomed the development of the star rating system which was designed to build quality into residential care services.


The Leader endorsed these comments and reported that other efficiencies would support the new developments in care services.


Resolved – That Cabinet agrees:


(i)  to implement Option 5 as set out in paragraph 2.6 of the Director’s  report.

(ii)  that where home owners refuse the new rates, contracts will be terminated (with 3 months’ notice) with new placements being made at homes that accept the new rates with effect from 1 April 2009. 

(iii)  that all placements in homes that do not accept the new rates will be reviewed and alternative accommodation options explored on an individual basis.

(iv)  that all contracts will need to be terminated or varied by agreement during 2009/10 to build in the results of the Quality Premium review, incorporate a range of health standards, an appropriate inflation clause and measures required to ensure the principals of “personalisation” are embedded.

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