Northamptonshire care homes face crisis following £27m council cut

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A huge increase in elderly people and low rates paid by local authorities is leading to a crisis in Northamptonshire, a care home boss has said.

John Strowbridge, managing director at Northampton-based Avery Healthcare Group said the scenario would play out in the next five years if county councillors fail to review their current budget proposals.

Speaking to BBC Radio Northampton, he said: “We have a 35 per cent to 40 per cent increase in the elderly population coming through in the next 15 years, so that in itself will be an urgent situation.

“If we don’t manage the market properly by paying proper rates to care providers, so that they can invest in the sector to support this population trend, then I can foresee a real crisis in the care sector in the next five years.

“Charging private clients more and more is not sustainable, and I would ask that the local councillors look again at their current proposals as part of the consultation that is taking place at the moment.”

It comes after about £27m cuts to the Adult Social Care budget being proposed for the next financial year, and the possible closure of two local authority care homes run by Olympus.

Avery said they get paid less than £400 per client per week from the council (up from about £300 24 years ago, Mr Strowbridge says), but believe they should be paid £750.

“What’s happening in the sector as a whole, not just in Northamptonshire, is that private clients are compensating for the inadequate local authority funding, and thus the sector as a whole is in a precarious state at the moment. The only way to continue to be able to provide a quality service is to maintain a strong level of privately-funded clients.”