Named and shamed: Fight to bring Calderdale’s care homes up to standards

Elm Royd Care Home, Brighouse.
Elm Royd Care Home, Brighouse.

The fight is on to bring the quality and sustainability of residential and nursing care homes in Calderdale up to standards with over two thirds of providers requiring improvement or being rated inadequate.

In October 2014 the Care Quality Commission introduced a new inspection regime as a means to raise standards and improve quality across the sector.

Nineteen homes in Calderdale have currently gone through the new inspection regime with 32% rated as good, 42% rated as requiring improvement, and 26% rated as inadequate.

It is anticipated that the remaining 22 homes will undergo the new inspection regime during 2016.

In a report by Calderdale Council’s Director of Adults Health and Social Care Bev Maybury, she said both locally and nationally, providers taking difficult business decisions to either exit the market completely or seeking to deregister existing provision, particularly away from dementia and nursing home provision.

“In this calendar year we have seen one home close in advance of regulatory action being taken and one provider re-designate use away from nursing,” she says in her report that will go before Adults Health and Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Panel.

“Regulation by itself does not raise standards and we are working collaboratively with partners and providers to ensure we use our resources to best effect, so we can be assured we support providers to make and sustain quality improvements.

“We have tailored packages of support to assist providers rated as inadequate or require improvements to improve quality and reduce the risk of provider failure.”

In April 2015 the Care Act 2014 came into force which strengthened existing duties or introduced new duties and responsibilities on Local Authorities.

Since the announcement of the “national living wage”, the department at Calderdale Council has been working with Finance to calculate the level of increased investment to meet the new requirements and are currently preparing plans as part of budget preparation to secure the necessary funds.

They currently calculate the uplift in fees would require an additional five per cent.

As part of the recent Spending Review local authorities who are responsible for social care have been given the ability create a social care precept.

This could provide local authorities with the ability to raise new funding to spend exclusively on adult social care.

The precept will work by giving local authorities the flexibility to raise council tax in their area by up to two per cent above the existing threshold.

It is assumed that where councils take up the social care precept this will be used to meet both the national living wage commitment and address the fair cost of care.

Since 2013/14 there have been five older people’s care homes close in Calderdale reducing the bed base down to 1,275 (18% reduction). This is in keeping with Council’s ambition to reduce reliance on pure residential care and to reshape the market to a smaller, more specialised, sustainable level for the future as it implements more personalised support for people.

The Council’s market investment strategy has been to invest in extra-care housing as an alternative to the high end residential market.

The temporary accommodation Heatherstones unit opened in January 2015, which is designed to support individuals build their confidence or regain skills before they return home to live independently and avoid inappropriate admissions into care.

Bev Maybury added that the Council are in the final stages of securing a preferred partner to develop a 50 unit scheme in North Halifax and have recently secured Cabinet approval for a dementia friendly scheme in Brighouse which will bring forward a further 50 units.