Leeds City Council

Published : 20/06/2012 00:00

Leeds' plan to improve standards of residential care for older people

Proposals to implement a brand new approach to local authority funded residential and nursing placements for older people in Leeds, were well received by the council’s executive board today.

The new five year deal will ensure that all nursing and residential care homes that are awarded a contract with Leeds City Council provide consistently high standards of quality and care. They will also operate to a new fee structure, which has been designed following extensive work to establish the costs of providing care to older, vulnerable people.

The fees that are currently paid to providers have always been negotiated on an individual basis, which is time consuming for both the council and each of the homes. In addition to this, the range of fees across the city varies greatly. The council was also mindful of the problems created by the collapse of the Southern Cross organisation and keen to put arrangements in place to avoid the same happening in Leeds in the future.

Last September executive board gave the go ahead for an advisory board to be set up with the aim of overseeing the creation of a long term, sustainable fee and quality framework for publicly funded residents. This was in response to research indicating that the range of fees that Leeds City Council were paying to independent residential and nursing care providers was too great and that some fees were too high, and not in line with the quality of care provided.

Since then, extensive work has taken place with representatives from care homes, service users/relatives, older people who may use the services in the future, NHS colleagues and representatives from groups with an interest in delivering high quality care for older people in the city.

Consultation events and working groups were also held in order to make sure that providers had every opportunity to be involved in the development stage and comment on the quality framework standards and service specification as it took shape.

The executive board report sets out the proposed quality measures that each care or nursing home that is successful in their tender submission will adhere to. There will be eleven standards and the adult social care commissioning team will assess each provider against these. Standards of quality, care and financial security will determine whether providers achieve a core standard or enhanced fee.

The aim of the new fee structure is to put in place a long term, fair and equitable framework that takes into account the future financial circumstances of the local authority and provides a sustainable market for providers of good quality care in the city.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member for adult social care said:
"It is our aim for older people in Leeds to have better lives, and this new framework will have a positive effect on standards of residential care in the city.

“We have been working closely with independent care home providers with the shared aim of making sure that the residential and nursing care market in Leeds continues to be stable.

"Not only will the proposed fee structure provide stability to the council throughout the life of the five year contracts, it will also offer peace of mind to relatives of people in residential care that they will not be asked to pay more for that care through a third party top up. Any savings made by the council through the new arrangements will be reinvested into adult social care services.

"The quality framework will help to drive up standards in the sector, and this will benefit our current customers and also those in the future."

Sandie Keene, director of adult social services in Leeds said:
“We have worked hard with our independent sector care home partners to agree a new quality and fee framework, which has been designed to provide stability and incentivise the sector in Leeds for the foreseeable future.

“I would like to thank the care home providers for engaging in this process, and for their input to developing a quality framework that will continue to improve the standard of care that is provided for vulnerable, older people in Leeds.”

Ends

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk