Letter: Care in crisis

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Short termism - getting the highest amount of care for the smallest amount of money - will mean a shortage of care facilities in the future ("Care homes lose battle to survive in funding crisis", 21 April).

As homes are forced out of business the elderly have to be looked after somewhere, by someone. The public sector has demonstrated that it cannot provide care at the fees that it pays the independent sector. Typically, local authority residential homes cost about pounds 100 per week more than the private sector.

Like farmers, we have complained for years that we are being inadequately compensated for our efforts and, like farmers, we have a visible capital asset which means that no one believes us.

Our fee income has fallen significantly below the rate of inflation for nine years in a row. Both what we earn and what we spend it on are determined by statutory bodies. Stifling over-regulation and disappearing margins are leading many operators to consider giving up. If the Government cannot or will not allow local authority funds for the reasonable cost of independent sector care, then statutory provision will have to be made.

ANDREW MAKIN

Yorkshire Branch Secretary

Registered Nursing Home Association

Keighley, West Yorkshire

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