Scottish Care Highland branch is disappointed that both Highland Council and the Scottish Executive have refused to recognise that the cost burden on care home providers has increased dramatically since the 2003 examination of the cost of care. Care homes can simply not provide the necessary standards of care at the proposed contract price and Scottish Care's Highland Branch has therefore decided that a revision to the contract would be sought through normal commercial and legal processes.
'In the period since that review, there have been significant increases in costs due to the raising of minimum pay levels including the NHS Agenda for Change, implementation of new standards set by government and significant increases in other costs such as insurance, registration fees and water rates.
'Applying these and other price increases to the 2003 findings puts the cost of care for nursing in April 2005 at£505 per week. This is£77 below the standard rate being paid in the Highland area.
'The cost of care analysis group's findings, adjusted for inflation, indicates a cost for residential care as at Apr 2005 of£412 per week. This is£47 below the amount being imposed by the council. Cost of residential care in the council's own homes of about 24 bed occupancy averages£530 per week and most of these do not meet Care Commission Standards. In one Highland Council run home the cost of residential care provision is as high as£865 per person per week.
'We in the independent sector are only seeking a fair payment, which is on average£118 per week cheaper than Highland Council's own homes. The council is imposing a rate which is£165 per week less than its own costs.
'Neither Highland Council nor the Scottish Executive have a right to set arbitrary rates for care home fees. Those fees must be set via a system of pricing that is controlled by commercial good practice and not political rhetoric.'
Joe Campbell, chairman of Scottish Care said: 'The cost of care analysis group is a body that includes all parties in the Scottish Care Home sector and its findings must be adhered to. It must be remembered that this year the Scottish Executive has paid nothing towards increased costs and just how subsequent years funding is to be allocated remains unknown. I fully understand why Highland Branch of Scottish Care feels it has no choice but to proceed along these lines as a means of ensuring that providers are getting fairly paid for the excellent services they provide.'