Care Homes Will Bar New Residents in Fees Protest
Byline: STEVE DOUGHTY
CARE home owners vowed to close their doors to new residents yesterday in protest at the low fees they receive from local authorities.
The rebellion - by members of the biggest association of home operators - will deepen the ' bedblocking' crisis in hospitals by denying places in homes to thousands of old folk.
Leaders of the planned boycott said several hundred homes in six regions of England would begin to refuse new residents within the next four weeks.
Joe Campbell, chief executive of English Care, the organisation behind the action, said: 'We have had enough and the small talk is done. We are not going to hurt any home resident in any way but this will bring the seriousness of our position home.' Homes are closing at a rate of 750 a year as operators complain that low fees paid for state-supported residents by councils mean they can no longer afford to stay open.
An independent analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation last year showed local authorities are paying between [pounds sterling]75 and [pounds sterling]85 too little per resident per week to cover the costs of running a home.
It said a fair price for a place in a residential home would be [pounds sterling]353 a week, compared to the [pounds sterling]268 paid by councils. For nursing homes the figure should be [pounds sterling]459 a week instead of the [pounds sterling]385 paid by councils.
Critics say home operators are exaggerating the extent of the financial squeeze. They point out that there were no protests during the 1990s when numbers of elderly people going into care homes were rising fast and fees paid by councils were more generous.
They also claim that many closures in the South have come about through home owners selling up to cash in on soaring property prices. …