The Care Quality Commission has been given additional powers to examine the finances of care providers in the UK. The BBC and other media providers have reported a “tough series of checks” and they report that this is likely to include those who provide care in peoples’ homes.
Mrs Nadra Ahmed OBE, Chair of the National Care Association has raised a number of points on the BBC. She pointed out that Care Quality Commission (CQC) already has powers to look at the viability and financial stability of care providers, but that they are now getting extra powers. She also posed the question as to whether the inspectors empowered to look at these will be qualified and able to provide knowledgeable decisions based on the information they see.
“Corporate accounts are presented in a lot of different ways. The powers did already exist but have not been used…they have now been given extra powers”.
Mrs Ahmed went on to point out that what happened with Southern Cross care homes was appalling and is being put up as a benchmark of what can never be allowed to happen again, by the government.
However she went on to single out the “chronic underfunding of care” as the underlying problem which has impacted on the provision of care, and went on to suggest the Government has skimmed over this.
The Chair of the National Care Association went onto suggest that it was the business model that was wrong at Southern Cross and the underfunding of the organisation, and “how that was manipulated by the sale of the building”. Therefore she feels there is a bigger issue.
Mrs Ahmed drew attention to the fact that there was a strong possibility that the top 50 companies will be safeguarded but that there are 26000 providers. “One home with 12 beds is as important as one large corporate with 500 beds – I know that means 500, but they will be protected. At Southern Cross nobody lost their home or was displaced, because people took them over. But if one small home in a village closes because of the viability issue, because of way their accounts are having to deal with the underfunding issue… That’s going to make a big difference to the people in that service. So we mustn’t separate it too much.”
Mrs Ahmed drew on her own experiences…”I had to close a twenty bedded service some years ago and I had to watch the aftermath of that and… find places that suited peoples’ needs, there may be beds vacant but they may not be the ones that these people want – there is a bigger issue out there of how we fund care in residential homes and in the home and we shouldn’t lose site of this”.