Time to stop cherry-picking the facts

IT IS about time that the council starts to report the facts accurately rather than cherry pick and distort the truth.

IT IS about time that the council starts to report the facts accurately rather than cherry pick and distort the truth.

Cllr Ap Rees' statement that North Somerset fee levels are the highest is inaccurate. If we take Bristol, it has a high percentage of the nursing placements with what is called an ESN attachment. This additional money is not recorded on their basic fee rate figures and is designed for clients with exceptional care needs. But Bristol openly admits that most are market force led and range between �50-�100 per week. Other councils have similar contracts. North Somerset does not pay ESNs to general nursing homes.

With regard to individual homes having to go through arbitration as a legal dictate, that is complete rubbish. The arbitration system allows for a group hearing if the issues within the case being brought by all the homes are the same. In fact our solicitor has requested this and so far it has been rejected. It is blatantly obvious that the local authority has adopted this expensive (to the tax payer) and totally unnecessary route in an attempt to force us not to go to arbitration.

The residential homes are not happy with the current fee levels and the council has been told this by the association that represents this sector. I have been telephoned by many residential home owners wishing us luck, adding that if we win the arbitration then they will be adopting the same legal challenge next April.

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As for numbers - 510 general nursing beds (that's the number that are within the homes going to arbitration) is by far the majority. Cllr Ap Rees has omitted to point out that he has counted within his equation nursing homes that treat mental illness and clients with learning difficulties. In both these sectors the fees are far higher, with care cost being individually assessed. In fact, last year, my own home was asked to take an elderly patient with learning difficulties who had suffered a stroke. Inadvertently the specialist social work team that was doing the placement inserted my staffing levels through the matrix they use to cost care in this sector..............and it came out as over �800pw. The social work team was instructed that they could not pay that fee for a general nursing home.

The public may very well have some empathy with cash struck councils, but equally I'm sure they want and expect high standards of nursing care for their sick and frail loved ones. If the local authority gave us what it pays its own care staff or those employed in a hospital, then we would happily stop the arbitration immediately.

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Regional Chair, RNHA

Lyndhurst Park Nursing Home


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