New contract to boost personal care market

Posted on: 6 April 2016

Devon County Council and its local NHS partners are set to give a vital boost to personal care services across the county, setting out new expectations for care providers in return for meeting the cost of better pay and conditions, training and qualifications where appropriate.

Despite government cuts to funding, the council and the NHS are increasing the amount they spend on personal care and support for elderly and vulnerable people in their own homes in a bid to bring greater stability to the personal care market, improve quality and raise morale among the workforce.

The contracts between Devon County Council, South Devon and Torbay CCG and North East & West Devon CCG with local care providers, will begin early summer 2016. The contracts are expected to be worth over £300 million over the next five to seven years and will mean increased investment in the care and support of very vulnerable people.

The contracts aim to bring:

• Higher quality care and support for vulnerable people
• Improved support to carers
• Better pay and conditions for care workers to boost recruitment and retention
• More training and support opportunities to make this a job and career of choice
• Greater independence for people to live their lives as fully as possible
• Greater certainty for providers so that they can plan for the future and improve their responsiveness

The Council and the NHS arrange personal care and support for more than 4,000 people a week across the county, delivering over 2 million hours of care and support to people in their own homes.

Services such as helping people to get washed and dressed, prepare a meal or take medication are a vital way to help more people to live independently at home for longer without the need for residential care or a stay in hospital.

The increased investment comes amid concern about a lack of personal care services in some areas and difficulties in attracting new workers into the personal care sector.

The new joint approach to commissioning local services aims to ensure a more stable supply of care and support and raise morale across the sector by recognising and rewarding care providers and care workers in their vital role.

A lead provider partner has been appointed in each of eight geographic areas across Devon, and they will be responsible for organising and delivering personal care services in that area including co-ordinating and supporting other local providers.

The new contracts also set out higher expectations on quality and working practices.

Frontline carers will be paid at least the national living wage as per government guidelines for all their contracted hours, including payment for travel time.

There will be improved support arrangements and more opportunities for training with a clearer career path.

Improved pay and conditions for frontline care workers will extend to all sub-contracted staff.

People who are already receiving council or NHS-funded domiciliary care may continue to receive support from their current carers, under the terms of their current contracts, so long as this is meeting their needs and is effectively delivered.

The intention is to maintain stability for service users and providers whilst the new arrangements settle down.

Above all the council and the NHS want to ensure that people receive safe, high quality care from care workers who want to provide the best care.

Councillor Stuart Barker, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for adult social care, said:

Cllr Stuart Barker“This is a new opportunity to put the care of vulnerable people in their own homes where it needs to be, which is at the very centre of a caring Devon.

“Good quality community-based care is essential to help support vulnerable people to live independently at home for longer and keep them out of hospital or residential care. It is anticipated that the average time taken for each visit will be around 30 minutes.

“This new contract is an important step in helping to improve the quality and supply of personal care services, and to bring greater pride in the sector.

“This is not about saving money. In fact Devon County Council and the NHS are investing considerably more. It is all about recognising and rewarding the vital work that personal care providers and their staff do every day.

“This means having a contract that pays what it takes to improve working conditions, and give staff a living wage together with more support and training so that we ensure a good supply of better quality care services for the future.

“The contract winners will be key partners in helping us to deliver this vision and by working closely with the many existing local providers we hope they can help us to drive improvement, increase efficiency and boost supply across the county.”

Director of Commissioning & Transformation at South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group, Simon Tapley, said:

“This is an excellent deal for the people of Devon and a good example of health and social care working together to deliver greater stability and capacity in the home care market.

“We are committed to helping people to get the support they need to stay out of hospital unless absolutely necessary and this contract will contribute significantly to realising this goal.”

Lorna Collingwood-Burke, chief nurse at NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“At the heart of the CCG is the commitment to support people to live healthy lives within their own communities. As such we are excited about the opportunity to continue to support people to exercise choice and control over their care by remaining at home wherever possible.

“This contract represents a positive way forward in developing the local market for personal care to ensure a consistently high quality service is available to those who need it. This jointly commissioned model will enable care to be delivered in a more collaborative way, with lead providers working more closely with local health and social care partners.

“The improvements in working conditions, enhanced training requirements and a clearer career path will encourage the recruitment and retention of valued care workers into this rewarding and developing sector.”

2 comments on “New contract to boost personal care market

  1. Colin Trudgeon says:

    The government living wage is now the national minimum wage so that is a given – nothing to do with new provision. The authorities are in a difficult position as even with the additional 2pc funding the money just isn’t there to make a significant difference, continues to depend on people being willing to do a difficult job on very low wages. The closure of another 4 community hospitals will negate any extra provision. Acute Trust hospitals will never give anything close to good care in the same way as local hospitals and home care rarely comes close to hospital provision. DCC started in a good place with a good scheme but the health juggernaught seems to have rolled them over again.

  2. paul raybould says:

    Sounds Rosy but Local Community Hospitals Will shut to Fund It.

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