Care England, the largest representative body of independent adult social care providers, has written the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, encouraging him to put in place a system of occupancy strategy in the care home sector to support its future sustainability. The strategies enacted in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales all offer well-trodden examples where this can work in an effective manner.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says:
“Decreased occupancy rates in the adult social care sector have had an adverse impact upon adult social care provider sustainability. Decreased occupancy rates have, in turn, increased care costs per head. This is at a time when care providers have been confronted by an array of COVID-19 related costs”.
Care England has also written to every Director of Adult Social Care in the country regarding fee rates and the need to work in partnership with providers to ensure the best means of recovery in conjunction with quality care with those in need.
The majority of care providers’ costs are fixed and cannot in the main be reduced despite dropping occupancy levels. This includes their heightened staffing costs. All these costs will therefore have to continue to be endured despite significant drops in income. The net effect is that the financial pressures caused by dropping occupancy levels will continue (along with increased costs) well into and beyond this forthcoming financial year.
Martin Green continues:
“An occupancy strategy would be a very effective way of increasing the sustainability of the adult social care sector in the coming weeks and months. This is of fundamental importance given the role which adult social care has, and continues, to play in England’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic”.