Care Homes

Department of Health written question – answered on 7th January 2016.

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Photo of Peter Kyle Peter Kyle Labour, Hove

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure the long-term viability of the care home sector; and if he will reassess the contribution that could be made to that viability of the care practitioner role.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Minister of State, Department of Health

Through November’s comprehensive Spending Review, the Government announced that it was giving local authorities access to £3.5 billion of new support for social care by 2019/20.

Councils will be able to introduce a new Social Care Precept, allowing them to increase council tax by 2% above the existing threshold. This could raise nearly £2 billion a year for social care by 2019/20.

From April 2017, the Spending Review makes available social care funds for local government, rising to £1.5 billion by 2019/20, to be included in the Better Care Fund.

Taken together, the new precept and additional Better Care Fund contribution mean local government has access to the funding it needs to increase social care spending in real terms by the end of the Parliament.

Under the Care Act (2014), local authorities have legal duties to shape a sustainable and diverse market of care providers capable of delivering a choice of quality services to their local population. These duties apply in respect of all care services, including care home services. The Government published statutory guidance to support local authorities discharge their market shaping duties effectively, which includes guidance around adult social care commissioning.

The care practitioner scheme was withdrawn by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, a non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The Department of Health was not involved in the assessment of the contribution that the care practitioner role could make to the care home sector.

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