Councils and health boards dispute who pays care costs

Pendine Academy of Social Care. Mario Kreft MBE at the launch in Wrexham.

Councils and health boards in Wales are locked in a legal dispute over who should pay for nurses who deliver social care in residential homes. The NHS pays for people who need 24-hour care, while those with the “lowest need” are funded privately or by the council. But who should pay for those who need some, but not constant nursing care, is to be decided by the Supreme Court. Care Forum Wales said the “£1m” court case was a “waste of public money”. The issue has been under dispute for several years and independent care providers are still waiting to be paid. A group of care home owners secured a judicial review which ruled in their favour. But the health boards won an appeal, which is due to be considered by the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Care Forum Wales (CFW), which represents more than 450 social care providers across Wales, said the cost of the care under dispute was about £20 a day. Its chairman Mario Kreft said: “The bottom line is that the money should have been paid and should have been paid a long time ago, it’s crazy that we’re still in this situation where people are arguing. “In fact, it is an outrage and an affront to the people who need the services and their families, to those people who are providing them and are working in the service.” He said the £1m CFW estimated had been paid in legal fees for the case was “ludicrous” and the money “should have been spent on delivering frontline care”. “Independent providers across Wales are entitled to this money for providing the care of older people,” he said. “This is a pathetic and very expensive squabble. We’d like to have a huge outbreak of common sense in the town halls and health boards in Wales.

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