Union Raps County For ‘Care On The Cheap’

Lancashire County Council have come under fire for running care homes “on the cheap”. New statistics show the authority pays just £395 per person a week for adults in care homes – making it the third worst payer in the North West and close to the bottom of the national payment league. County hall officials have questioned the figures but said they were examining ways to improve funding. The GMB trade union today accused the authority of underfunding care for elderly people in council-run home and private homes, which partly paid for by the council. Nationally, Lancashire comes 153rd in a league of 173 authorities with the highest-paying shelling out £743 and the lowest paying just £311. The national average for England is £488.

GMB senior organiser Eddie Parker said councils need to recognise that private care provision by councils is a public service.

He said: “The current regime of funding is exploiting the staff which in turn means that the system is failing to provide a standard of care that the elderly and their families should be able to expect. Councils need to understand that it is not possible to provide elderly residents with residential and nursing care on the cheap.”

Statistics, released by independent watchdog the Audit Commission, show the amount spent on providing nursing and care for people over-65 years old in council-run care homes or on those receiving home care.

It also includes people under-65 suffering with a mental, physical disability or sensory impairment.

Only Blackpool – £391 per person per week – and the Wirral £360 – spend even less than Lancashire in the North West. Cheshire topped the regional spending league with £484 per person.

However, Lancashire County Council claims the figures are misleading and that a recent independent survey by independent consultants Lang and Buisson offers a more accurate insight into its spending.

According to those figures, LCC spends a minimum of £455.50 per person on nursing for the elderly and £313 for residential care, at least £455.50 on dementia nursing and £352.50 for residential care, it also spends a minimum £532.50 on residential care for young physically disabled people and £454.50 on nursing.

The council added it spends at least £283 on resident care for patients with mental illnesses and the same amount on residential treatment for alcohol and drug misuse.

A spokesman for the county council’s adult social services department said: “Like many other local authorities we accept that there is a gap in funding and we are committed to improving the situation and are continuously working with central government to move things forward.”