Council offers care homes £3.8m funding boost
CARE providers are set to receive a £3.8 million funding boost from a local authority.
Staffordshire County Council is offering to increase the amount it pays for private care home places by 13.2 per cent – an average rise of £46 per week.
The council reviewed the level of fees after care providers took legal action over the levels being frozen in 2011/12.
Council leaders say the proposed fees represent value for money for taxpayers, and will also ensure a high quality of care for vulnerable residents.
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The authority currently spends around £58 million a year on care for 3,496 service users in council-run facilities and private homes.
Liz Staples, cabinet member for adult wellbeing, said the proposed increase in council support would reduce the top-up fees paid by some residents.
She said: "It's essential we provide the best possible care to some of the most vulnerable people in Staffordshire and we expect our residential and nursing care home owners to offer quality services to the residents who need their help.
"Our review of fees for residential and nursing care for our most vulnerable people seeks to strike a fair balance between the costs faced by care home providers and the quality of care available to people."
The council sets out what it expects to pay for care places, called the usual price, before each financial year, taking into account the costs of care providers.
In 2011/12 the usual price was frozen at 2010/11 levels, prompting legal action by the providers and the subsequent review.
The proposed fees will now go out to consultation before a decision is taken.
Councillors will also decide whether the council will pay the fees retrospectively for the last two financial years.
Council leader Philip Atkins said: "We are aware of issues that have been raised about the quality of care in residential homes, and we should remember that we're talking about people's mothers and fathers.
"If a care home is closed down and we have to relocate its residents, that can be incredibly expensive. And so this is something worth spending money on.
"But the amount we pay should not be extortionate.
"These are difficult times for everyone at the moment. And we will expect care providers to offer an improved service. Things can't just carry on as they are."
Mr Atkins said he expected care homes to improve training and offer staff a genuine career path.
There will be a consultation event at The Bridge Centre, Birches Head, on Wednesday April 10, from 1.30pm.