High standards

I WOULD like to respond to Nigel Ashton's aspersion that nursing homes are using the elderly and frail for possible financial gains.

I WOULD like to respond to Nigel Ashton's aspersion that nursing homes are using the elderly and frail for possible financial gains.

Over the past five years the patients now cared for in nursing homes have altered substantially where there are nursing clients who previously would be cared for in hospital or in a hospice.

To provide high standards of care for these clients we have seen increases in staffing levels where on average there is now double the care staff levels observed in residential homes.

In the past two years the Government have increased employers' National Insurance, plus additional annual leave of eight days, and improved the minimum wage.

You may also want to watch:

These set costs now result in staff wages amounting to 65-70 per cent of a home's total expenditure.

After repeated requests the local authority refuses to address any of these augmented costs in care. The 15 per cent increases Mr Ashton' quotes over the past years have been sunk somewhat into insignificance by a series of financial tsunamis.

Most Read

We only have to do a simple equation; the cost of a nursing bed for a terminally ill patient in a nursing home is four to five times cheaper than the hospital or a hospice bed. The local authority's own residential home with no nursing care is more than �100 more per week than what the homes receive for a nursing client with high care needs.

The current fees bridle us into offering a wage structure that is less than someone stacking shelves in Asda, with the addition of no pension scheme or paid sick leave. How are we meant to attract and retain a high calibre of care staff. Which the public expects in looking after their critically ill loved ones on such a meagre salary package?

For nursing homes to continue in looking after very sick and chronically ill patients we need to maintain high standards of care from highly trained care and nursing staff and this cannot be achieved on the current fee level of �3.29 an hour per client.

So Mr Ashton's comments relating to us using the elderly to somehow bolster our profit margins could not be further from the truth.

I challenge Mr Ashton now; to tell us what the cost of care would be if we paid our staff the same salary package as the local authority pay their own residential care staff (who do not even look after critically ill nursing clients).

We can insert the local authority's salaries through the Department of Health's approved model for calculating the cost of care using 'our' staffing levels.

I am happy for this exercise to be executed under the watchful eyes of the Mercury's editorial staff to ensure that the procedure and outcomes are factual. Are you up to that challenge Mr Ashton?


Regional Chairman Registered Nursing Homes Association

Lyndhurst Park, Severn Road, Weston

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus