Following the recent pay award for nurses in the NHS, Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, has called for nurses working in independent care homes to be given the same priority by the Government.
As NHS providers will have the cost of the pay award paid directly via the Treasury, care homes with nursing on the other hand will not.
Care homes must either fund any nurse pay increases via CCG contracts (some of which we know are often only awarding 0% or 0.1% for 2018/19 to meet cost increases) or via Funded Nursing Care (FNC) from the Government, which at 2% increase for 2018/19 simply does not allow care homes to match the pay awards for NHS nurses, on top of the other cost pressures putting further pressure on already stretched care home providers.
Care England has alerted the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and the DHSC that the FNC, payable for nurse costs in nursing homes, rate for 2018/19 will not meet the huge pressure being felt in the nursing home sector.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England says: “In addition to pay awards, providers are having to respond to the cost of rising dependency of nursing needs of residents. Additional costs come from the shortage of nurses, over which we have no control, meaning that recruiting nurses is a costly challenge along with increasing agency costs associated with rising nurse vacancies.
"The cost of employing nurses is rising with auto pension enrolment and other staff costs which must be met in order to retain our nurses and offer the best employment packages possible. This linked with the rising number of nursing hours needed to meet care needs mean that central Government is not supporting our sector sufficiently.”
The low FNC rate rise will only exacerbate the recruitment and retention challenges our sector is currently facing.
Martin Green continued: “The nursing home sector is a vital part of our whole health and social care system and ensures that people, especially older people, are discharged promptly from hospital, but also can ensure people do not enter hospital unnecessarily. However, the sector needs to be funded appropriately to do this and our nurses also deserve a funded pay settlement from Government”
Picture (c) PeterSteffen / DPA / PA Wire.