Brown's Billions Help Ease Costs of New Legislation; Gordon Brown's Pounds 3.2 Billion Boost for Social Services, Announced in the Government's Spending Review, Has Raised Hopes That the Crisis Gripping Birmingham's Nursing and Residential Home Sector Can Be Solved. Paul Dale Reports

The Birmingham Post (England), July 17, 2002 | Go to article overview

Brown's Billions Help Ease Costs of New Legislation; Gordon Brown's Pounds 3.2 Billion Boost for Social Services, Announced in the Government's Spending Review, Has Raised Hopes That the Crisis Gripping Birmingham's Nursing and Residential Home Sector Can Be Solved. Paul Dale Reports


Byline: Paul Dale

The Chancellor's largesse was praised by the hard-pressed public sector, but it will not come soon enough for the owners of three Birmingham old people's homes who have decided enough is enough. St Anthony's nursing home in King's Norton, Lea House residential home in Erdington and Forest Grange residential home in Moseley are to close, with the loss of 67 beds.

They have fallen victim to what has being described as a financial nightmare and will follow more than 80 elderly care homes which have folded in Birmingham in the past 18 months, and thousands throughout the country.

The sector is under a twin attack.

Homes are facing a 2007 deadline to meet new rules set by the Government's Care Standards Commission. This entails modernisation, reducing the number of shared bedrooms, increasing numbers of staff, their training and qualifications.

For some larger homes, often poorly-maintained Victorian buildings, the cost of complying with the legislation is huge.

The second problem involves funding from Birmingham City Council's social services department paid to the private sector in return for looking after 1,600 local authority residents.

While social services is prepared to pay pounds 522 per resident per week for places in local authority homes, it pays only pounds 260 a week for a place in a private sector home.

The payment is not enough to cover home owners' costs, according to the Birmingham Care Consortium.

Spokesman Alan Pearce, who runs three homes in Sutton Coldfield, describes his financial problems as 'acute', but declines to go into detail. 'I don't want to worry people,' he said.

'Like all homes, we face expenditure and there is nothing in the pot at the moment.'

By next year Mr Pearce, in common with all private home owners, has to meet the new care standards which state that the ratio of single bedrooms to shared bedrooms must be no less than 80 to 20.

In addition, the Government is insisting on en-suite bathrooms and larger rooms.

Consequently, with larger bedrooms and fewer residents, income will fall. Homes with more than 25 residents must also meet new minimum staffing levels, with a requirement of two nurses on duty during waking hours. …

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Brown's Billions Help Ease Costs of New Legislation; Gordon Brown's Pounds 3.2 Billion Boost for Social Services, Announced in the Government's Spending Review, Has Raised Hopes That the Crisis Gripping Birmingham's Nursing and Residential Home Sector Can Be Solved. Paul Dale Reports
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