The care home market in Staffordshire will be reviewed to ensure it can continue to offer quality care, value for money and timely access to care in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A report to Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet outlines the important role care homes have played throughout the pandemic, and the impact it has had on the care home market.
These include a reduction in the number of beds being used, increased operating costs due to enhanced cleaning and infection control, and the reduction in some care home capacity due to social distancing requirements.
The county council will strengthen its quality improvement work, ensure costs represent the best value for money, improve the way it buys care home placements, and explore future options.
A previous proposal to refurbish Hillfield House will also not be progressed, as the new requirements for infection control mean the proposals no longer represent good value for money.
Dr Johnny McMahon, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Support Member for Integrated Care said: “Covid-19 has had a profound impact on our care homes, all of which have been on the front line of the pandemic, caring for elderly and vulnerable residents. The way they have coped with the new rules and regulations because of this has been tremendous.
“Reviewing our approach to the care home market in the wake of Covid-19, and ensuring we can continue to offer good-quality, affordable care that meets people’s assessed needs is very important to us. We need the care home sector to be sustainable so that people can access good quality affordable care when they need it.
“The past 18 months have been a very challenging time for care homes, who have played a crucial role in keeping people safe throughout the pandemic. It is now important that we look ahead and plan for services that are fit for the future.”
Meanwhile Staffordshire County Council have reacted to the government’s announcement on Social Care funding.
Alan White, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said: “While many people will welcome the cap on people’s contribution to their own care when they are elderly, the introduction of a health and care levy on working people will be a difficult pill for many to swallow.
“We need to see more detail of how these proposals will work: simply replacing the contribution of private individuals with funding from taxpayers will do nothing to address the challenges facing the social care sector, most critically the ability to recruit and retain staff. We need to understand the Government’s long-term plans to support a growing and ageing population to live as independently as possible, ideally in their own homes rather than relying on hospitals and care homes.
“This is an issue that existed long before Covid and which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Local authorities are already seeing more people in need of care with a dwindling workforce able to provide it and the social care sector facing increasing pressures.”