Call for ‘level play­ing field’ on el­derly care cost

Pri­vate care home op­er­a­tor says coun­cils ‘un­der­pay­ing’ them

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By SHÂN ROSS

The head of one of Scot­land’s lead­ing pri­vate care home com­pa­nies says he has ob­tained proof the in­de­pen­dent care sec­tor in Scot­land is sub­si­dis­ing local au­thor­i­ties in the care of el­derly peo­ple.

Robert Kil­gour, chair­man of Re­nais­sance Care which founded the sec­ond biggest com­pany in the sec­tor and op­er­ates 12 homes across Scot­land, sub­mit­ted Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quests to Scot­land’s 32 local au­thor­i­ties for a de­tailed break­down of care costs.

Mr Kil­gour says this re­vealed vast dis­par­i­ties be­tween the £594 weekly pay­ment local au­thor­i­ties al­lo­cate the in­de­pen­dent sec­tor for peo­ple they re­fer and the weekly cost al­lo­cated to their own homes.

Coun­cils such as Shet­land Coun­cil es­ti­mated weekly care costs per res­i­dent in their own care homes at £1,338 to £1,789 a week, Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil pays from £920 to £1,825, and South La­nark­shire Coun­cil re­sponded with a weekly fig­ure of be­tween £919 to £1,572.

He is now call­ing for the Ac­counts Com­mis­sion, the pub­lic sec­tor watch­dog, to con­duct an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Mr Kil­gour said: “The re­sponses show there is no level play­ing field when it comes to fund­ing el­derly care in Scot­land. How can local coun­cils ex­pect in­de­pen­dent care homes to op­er­ate on far lower fund­ing than their own homes?

“I want to high­light the dou­ble stan­dards in op­er­a­tion. Local coun­cils are not be­ing re­al­is­tic and hon­est in recog­nis­ing the true costs of care.”

Dr Don­ald Macaskill, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Scot­tish Care, rep­re­sent­ing the largest group of in­de­pen­dent care providers, said: “For some time now, Scot­tish Care has been work­ing with col­leagues in COSLA and the In­te­grated Joint Boards to de­ter­mine the real cost of car­ing for the 33,000 in­di­vid­u­als who will spend tonight in a care home.”

A Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment spokesman said: “While a sig­nif­i­cant amount of work and in­vest­ment has gone into sup­port­ing older peo­ple and peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties to live well in their own homes for longer, we recog­nise the role of the care home is still im­por­tant. Local au­thor­i­ties have a duty to en­sure care is avail­able and, in some ar­eas, have to op­er­ate their own care homes.

“Clearly value for money is a cru­cial part of de­liv­er­ing any pub­lic ser­vice and we would ex­pect coun­cils to be open and trans­par­ent about their spend­ing. In 2018/19, coun­cils will re­ceive fund­ing through the local gov­ern­ment fi­nance set­tle­ment of £10.7 bil­lion. This will pro­vide a real terms boost in both rev­enue and cap­i­tal fund­ing for pub­lic ser­vices.”

sross@scots­man.com

Robert Kil­gour has high­lighted the gap be­tween what care costs and what coun­cils pay for it

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