Funded nursing care guidelines for care homes don’t go far enough – our response to ombudsman’s report

Posted on: April 27th, 2018 by Meelee Parsons

NHS-funded Nursing Care (FNC) is the Department of Health’s contribution towards care homes’ costs for people who are in receipt of nursing care from a registered nurse. In 2016 we reported that the standard FNC rate was rising to £156.25 per week (from £112).

We hoped that care homes would reflect this rate rise in their fees, passing on a welcome reduction in nursing costs to residents who may otherwise be funding some of the costs of this from their own pocket. However, we’ve been aware that this is frequently not the case, with murky explanations for the reasons why.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has also seen a rise in complaints on this issue since the rate rise, and this mirrors the increase in calls on this subject to our own advice line. In January 2018 they issued guidance for care providers on this matter, which outlined some of the problems.

Our Managing Director Dan Harbour, said in response: “In 2016 we were happy that the new FNC rate better reflected the real costs of nursing care that was being delivered by a registered nurse, and hoped that care home fees might actually fall as a result. Clearly this is not happening and self-funding residents are rightly questioning this.

“I’m pleased to see this issue is now on the Ombudsman’s radar, but the focus of the guidance is very much on ensuring care homes have clarity about FNC in their terms and conditions. It seems that as long as care homes make it clear they won’t pass on care savings, that is acceptable.

“This doesn’t seem fair to residents, and we’re disappointed that the Ombudsman has not provided some level of ethical guidance for best practice in this area.”

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