According to press reports a Kettering Nursing home is about to close because it’s not financially viable to run. I met with the manager a year or so ago as they had written to me with their concerns about the County Council budget.
Their complaint was that the rates the County Council paid for Council clients was far too low, and not enough to cover the actual cost. They are right, and Northamptonshire County Council pays one of the lowest rates in the whole country. I was told that this was making the running of care homes unviable and if nothing changed, more homes would close (there has already been at least a dozen or so close in our County over the last few years).
I obviously passed on that message to the Council, and have raised the issue on several occasions since but without any change in policy. The prediction now seems to have come true.
I’m not at all convinced that Social Care should be so reliant on the private sector, and would prefer the Council to invest in their own facilities. However if we are going to use private homes, they should at least be paid enough to cover their costs.
The irony is that the Council will probably have to sort out care for the residents and take on an additional cost to do so – but the real tragedy is that moving elderly people from one home to another is never good and can be disastrous. I know of an official from another part the country that works in this field and tells me they have calculated the likelihood of people dying due to such moves.