Care providers are demanding double the usual fees to look after thousands of people who need to be discharged from hospitals to ease the crisis in the NHS.
Care England, which represents the largest private care home providers, said on Sunday it wanted the government to pay them £1,500 a week per person, citing the need to pay care workers more and hire rehabilitation specialists so people languishing in hospital can eventually be sent home.
The rate is about double what most local authorities currently pay for care home beds, an amount Martin Green, the chief executive of Care England, described as “inadequate”.
The demand comes as the health secretary, Steve Barclay promised “urgent action” with up to £250m in new funding for the NHS to buy care beds to clear wards of medically fit patients. The money will be used to buy beds in care homes, hospices and hotels where people are looked after by homecare providers, as well as pay for hospital upgrades. Stays will be no longer than four weeks until the end of March.
The use of hotels as care homes began during the pandemic and has been controversial, with reports of problems with hygiene and supplies of specialist equipment. The charity Age UK last week criticised their renewed use as “not an appropriate place to provide high-quality care for older people in need of support to recuperate after a spell in hospital”.
Source: The Guardian, 9 January 2023
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