Care providers attack 'unrealistic' cut in nursing funds from NHS

By Barry Toberman, February 7, 2013

The two major providers of Jewish residential nursing care in the capital have attacked the imposition of a reduced upper limit for NHS London-funded clients.

In a joint statement this week, Jewish Care and Nightingale Hammerson detailed their opposition to the move to set the limit at £700 per person per week from April. This is way below what they say is the true cost of providing care for those with serious nursing needs who are funded by the NHS, rather than a local authority.

The charities noted that providers had received assurances by NHS London that there would be proper negotiation and that “both the contract and the price would be mutually agreed”.

Quoted in the statement, the Jewish Care and Nightingale chief executives, respectively Simon Morris and Leon Smith, said their organisations “cannot provide the required quality of care for Jewish people who need ongoing support for the £700 which is being imposed on us.

“It is therefore with deep reluctance that we have each decided not to participate in the commissioning process.”

The charity chiefs felt their organisations were being asked to “subsidise services they should not be paying for. We feel that accepting this deal would mean the NHS would not be fulfilling its duty of care to this most vulnerable group of people.”

Speaking for Nightingale — where there are up to half-a-dozen NHS-funded residents at any time — Mr Smith said the funding ceiling was “totally unrealistic”, given that that the true cost of care in such cases was “not less than £1,200 a week.

“This is all about driving down cost. It means that charities will have to rely even more on voluntary donations. The community needs to be aware of what is going on.”

With Jewish Care and Nightingale having opted out of the commissioning process, Mr Smith believed NHS London would struggle to find a Jewish establishment willing to accept someone on the £700 per week basis. A possible scenario, he suggested, could be hospitals negotiating individually with charities.

Last updated: 12:31pm, February 7 2013