The Government has announced an increase in funding for nursing in care homes in an attempt to ease pressure on hospitals working to tackle the Covid backlog.
The standard weekly rate per person, provided for NHS-funded nursing care, has increased by 11.5% from £187.60 to £209.19 for 2022-23 and will be backdated to 1 April.
There will also be a retrospective uplift on the 2021-22 rate, providing an estimated £87 million to the sector through additional payments of £21.93 per resident per week for 2021-22.
The rates have been based on research conducted by the Department of Health and Social Care in 2021 through a cost collection survey that was sent to nursing home providers.
For those on the historic high band payment, the retrospective increase for 2021-22 will mean an extra £30.17 per resident per week. The higher band rate for 2022-23, with the increase, will be £287.78 per week.
However, social care leaders have said the funding is not enough to tackle the high turnover and number of vacancies in the sector’s nursing workforce.
‘More support needed amid shortages’
Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, commended the Department of Health and Social Care for ‘recognising the cost increases faced by providers and the impact of the pandemic on our valued nurses’.
Professor Green added: ‘Whilst we were disappointed at the timely nature of the decision, the uplift sets a precedent for local authorities to follow in uplifting their fees for local care providers to increase the future sustainability of the sector.’
Meanwhile, Joanne Galbraith-Marten, RCN director of employment relations, said the Government needed to be ‘more ambitious’ in the funding of the sector and that the increase would not have ‘sufficient impact’.
She continued: ‘The social care workforce, of both registered nurses and support workers, has a high number of vacancies and high turnover rate because the pressure is so great and pay so unsatisfactory. Any additional funding, both future and backdated, must be targeted at rewarding and retaining the people that keep services running and people safe and well.’
However, minister for care Gillian Keegan said: ‘Our brilliant adult social care nurses work tirelessly to support people living with a variety of health needs. Increasing the weekly rate and the retrospective uplift reflects the cost of this vital work which is carried by our valued and skilled workforce to help those who need it.
‘It is right we continue to review the cost of this care to ensure nurses can continue providing excellent care and support the needs of their residents.’
Chief nurse for adult social care Deborah Sturdy, who has written a blog for Nursing in Practice celebrating International Nurses Day, added: ‘Nurses across social care play an essential role in delivering high-quality, complex care to those who require the skills and expertise of registered nurses. This funding is vital to supporting their role in planning and providing care.’