07 February 2014
A BBC survey of local authorities in England has shown that councils are paying home care providers less than it costs to meet minimum legal requirements.
Trevor Brocklebank of at-home care company, Home Instead, says that they will not enter into volume contracts with local authorities as he believes they drive down the quality of care. What’s more, he believes that the authority’s rates of pay are jeopardising the health, safety and dignity of elderly people across the country.
Commenting on the BBC’s findings, Trevor says, “I am not at all surprised by the BBC’s findings. What they have shown is that the rates being paid to care providers are unsustainable and do not allow for a quality care service to be delivered. The race to the bottom has got to stop.
“It is these poor rates of pay which results in providers cramming as many calls as they can into each hour – with no provision for travel time.
“The result is carers being put under pressure to visit up to four clients per hour with no allowance made for travelling from one to the next. It’s the only way providers on low hourly rates can make it pay – it turns the whole process into a numbers game, how many people can we provide ‘care’ for in each hour? We’ve all heard and seen the results of this – carers arriving late and unable to properly care for their clients.”
Trevor believes that the solution lies not only with more funding being made available for social care, but a plan of integration between health and social care. He says, “We need better integration between health and social care and we need to move more money in to social care. By keeping people safe and well in their own homes with a quality care service we can help to prevent them entering the more costly health system.
“There is no doubt in my mind that by providing quality social care we can keep more elderly people at home living a healthy and independent life and this has got to be a more cost effective option.”
In closing, Trevor said, “Whilst it is easy to blame local authorities for driving down the cost of care, I believe that it is also incumbent on care providers to refuse the poor hourly rates on offer and to simply say ‘no’.”