Nursing homes struggling due to low rates and lack of staff
PUBLISHED: 08:00 19 June 2018
Nursing homes in North Somerset say they are under increasing pressure due to low rates and staff shortages.
Homes in the district receive 20 per cent less than nursing homes in Bristol and industry leaders are appealing for North Somerset to use a cost of care model.
The North Somerset rate is £729 – just £4.34 per hour – while the Bristol rate is £921 – £5.48.
Gordon Butcher, regional chairman of the Registered Nursing Home Association, says nursing homes need £1,000 per person per week.
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 North Somerset 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 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.”
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