Nursing homes in 'financial strife' due to low rates and staff shortages
PUBLISHED: 08:00 14 June 2018
Nursing homes receive almost 20 per cent less funding in North Somerset than in Bristol.
Home owners say they are being put under increasing pressure with low local authority rates and high staffing costs.
The North Somerset rate is £729 – just £4.34 per hour – while the Bristol rate is £921 – £5.48.
Gordon Butcher, proprietor of Lyndhurst Park Nursing Home and regional chairman of the Registered Nursing Home Association, says nursing homes need £1,000 per person per week to pay for the care they provide.
He said: “Home owners in North Somerset feel as if they are being treated as second rate nursing providers, with the care commissioners showing indifference to the sectors’ financial strife.
“Bristol calculated this price through a fair cost of care model. Providers in North Somerset have been requesting such a model for over eight years, but the council constantly refuses to apply any model.”
Nursing homes in Weston face agency fees of £36 per hour due to a shortage of staff.
Mr Butcher added: “The residents nursing homes now care for do not go to sleep at 10pm and wake at 7pm. Most require two-hourly nursing observations.
“Until a few years ago you would only see palliative care in hospices or a hospital, but nursing homes are being asked to provide nursing care for far more complex needs.”
North Somerset Council says Bristol’s care market is very different, with limited capacity and higher costs.
Its spokesman said: “The rates in North Somerset are lower than our neighbours regionally, but this reflects a similar situation across the country for seaside authorities with more care home capacity.
“The advantage of lower supplier costs is more than compensated by the disproportionately large elderly population in North Somerset. This has placed increased financial pressures on the council.
“Despite these variations, North Somerset has seen an increase for the nursing sector of 11.2 per cent over the past three years, and the council recognises the pressures on the care sector and nursing providers in particular and is committed to annual increases which reflect increases in the cost of care.”