More CCGs risk deficit after care home price hike

Commissioning leaders fear more clinical commissioning groups could be plunged into deficit due to the increase in NHS funded nursing at care homes, despite the government agreeing to reduce the rate.

The Department of Health announced last July that the cost of a place in a care home with nursing would rise from £112 to £156.25 a week, which was backdated to April 2016.

The rise, estimated to be worth nearly £200m, followed an independent review by Mazars that recommended the 40 per cent increase. The DH confirmed in March it will reduce the rate from £156.25 to £155.05 this month, following a further review by Mazars.

A DH spokeswoman said it had increased CCG funding by £2.5bn for 2016-17 with an extra £1.5bn expected in 2017-18. She added: “NHS funded nursing care is a vital part of supporting vulnerable people and must be funded effectively.

“The current rate is based on the best evidence currently available on the costs of providing high quality nursing care in the sector and the government is increasing funding for CCGs.”

However, NHS Clinical Commissioners chief executive Julie Wood said that even with the reduction, the hike was still an “unfunded” pressure on CCGs’ resources.

An investigation by HSJ has found that nationally, CCGs predicted the rise would cost them an extra £152m in 2016-17 compared to the previous financial year.

Full story in The HSJ, 11 April 2017