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Funding increase for nursing in care homes ‘a win for the sector’

Funding increase for nursing in care homes ‘a win for the sector’

A 7.4% increase to the weekly rates paid to care homes for NHS-funded nursing care (FNC) in England has been hailed as ‘a win for the care sector’ by a leading representative for adult social care providers.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced last week that the standard weekly rate per person eligible for FNC would increase by 7.4% from £219.71 to £235.88 from 1 April. Funding for residents on the higher rate will increase from £302.25 to £324.50.

The funded nursing care rate helps cover the costs of nursing care in care homes for those with a variety of needs, including people with learning disabilities, those living with enduring physical or mental health needs and various conditions associated with old age.

Care England chief executive Professor Martin Green said: ‘Care England has worked tirelessly with the Department of Health and Social Care over nine years to ensure that the FNC rate reflects the true cost of providing nursing care.

However, he warned the organisation’s work was ‘not done’ and called on the government to address the definition of FNC, as well as the pay of nursing staff in care homes.

‘The government must now lend consideration to the legal definition of FNC to ensure it is fit for the future given the increased levels of complexity seen in residential care, and how care providers have had to adapt their services to meet the ever-changing needs of their residents,’ added Professor Green.

‘We need to make sure that not only is care funded appropriately, but that our nursing staff are recognised and rewarded accordingly, in line with NHS nurses.

‘Whilst the latest uplift is a step in the right direction, the government must now act to secure the future of nursing provision in residential care.’

The uplift for the 2024 to 2025 financial year was based on adult social care data which the DHSC said was ‘quality assured and independently verified’. It follows last year’s 5% uplift, which was branded ‘totally inadequate’ by Professor Green.

Last year, Care England called on the government to ‘unlock essential funds’ to support social care after Birmingham City Council ‘declared itself effectively bankrupt’. Professor Green warned at the time that the lack of money going to local systems was failing to meet the levels of care needed locally.

And shortages of registered nurses were impacting care homes to a point where providers were considering the withdrawal of nursing care altogether, a study into the sector found last year.

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