Care home bosses seek legal advice in fight for fair fees
CARE home bosses say they will seek legal action to get 'fair fees'.
Torquay Quality Care Forum has called for better rates and consultation from Torbay Care Trust. It comes after a High Court judicial review was brought against Devon County Council by Devon Quality Care Forum.
The authority was ordered to pay more than £40,000 towards the forum's legal fees after the judge found the way it had consulted with care homes in setting the fees was 'unlawful'.
But he said the fees were fair and took account of costs and quality of care.
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Alan Beale, who brought the action for Devon Quality Care Forum and is also a director of TQCF and operates Beechmount residential home in Chelston, said the situation is similar in Torbay.
He said the authority had offered a pay increase this year but it is still not enough to bridge the funding gap.
"We would much prefer the care trust to take notice of the points we have raised and review their decision. As a last resort we may have no alternative but to consider legal action to protect our residents and care sector which is one of the biggest employers in the Bay."
Torbay Care Trust has this year has offered a sliding scale increase in fees up to 7.5 per cent for nursing care, nursing dementia care and residential dementia care.
It is proposing a one per cent rise for residential care with a separate premium for homes that sign up to the trust's incentive scheme, CQUIN.
But forum members say the rise does not bridge the funding gap for homes that have the lowest fees in the South West.
Mr Beale said:"The funding is so chronic and serious that this money does not go anywhere near addressing risks."
A spokesman for the care trust said they 'continued to work with local homes to ensure there is shared understanding of the challenges'.