The National Care Association has joined the questioning of Lord Carter’s suggestion that hospitals should build their own care homes to look after elderly patients after they have been treated to make it easier to discharge patients and prevent ‘bed-blocking’.
The NCA says it has often reminded the government that patients requiring care homes are needlessly being kept in hospitals at greater expense while the care homes sector remains underfunded.
NCA chairman Nadra Ahmed highlighted continuing disparities in the current approach.
“Long-stay geriatric wards can cost as much as £2,000 a week per patient, yet local authorities are unwilling to pay the private care sector somewhat less than a third of that sum for a similar standard of care due to rigid adherence by councils to chronic underfunding,” said Mrs Ahmed.
“The standardisation of practices that Lord Carter proposes for the NHS should, in our view, extend to local authority funding of social care provided by the care homes sector. There remains a critical shortfall in average council funding of about eight per cent for a typical care home placement.
“So until our sector is granted realistic funding there exists a strong probability that the independent social care market will continue to shrink, a UK support service which remains essential to local government and NHS care provision.”