LD Dom Care Forum
Held at Crossroads Care Home 28th August 2018
These are notes (not minutes) and reflect the opinions and understandings of those present
Tish chaired the Forum.
The meeting started with some Providers on the contract reporting that they are getting business outside of the DPS and questions were raised as to whether this is a breach of the contract. Brokers are contacting Providers via telephone offering them packages without the Service User going through the DPS.
One Provider, not on the contract, had an existing joint Council and Health funded package extended. The package was not entered on the DPS.
Tish reported on the Partnership meeting held on the 22nd August at which is was announced that flu jabs will be available for free for social healthcare staff from the 3rd September. CPIC have been asked to encourage take up of the jabs and to help dispel some of the myths around flu jabs.
CPIC presented a document listing some of the issues that Providers have been facing with using the DPS, and the Council have agreed to feedback on this list at the following meeting.
Cornwall Council noted that the take up of packages is lower than expected. It was also noted that the outstanding list of packages has grown considerably in recent weeks.
At the Partnership meeting Rab McEwan, Chief Operating Officer at RCHT indicated concern at the upcoming winter pressures and is expecting demand for an additional 2000 hours of domiciliary care over the winter. Rab also announced that they have a “winter plan”, however it does not appear that any home care or supportive lifestyles providers have been consulted on the plan.
It was also noted that Home First, originally intended as a short term reablement service is now part of Cornwall Council as it was not successful as a standalone business.
Providers are reporting that easier short-term packages are being taken back when they are due to end and given to Home First. This does not seem to fit with Home First’s remit of very providing very short term reablement and could leave the Council open to criticism of providing an unfair advantage to their own service.
It was highlighted that Cor Care do not appear to be on the DPS as they have enough private work, which is very impressive for a Provider set up solely to pick up Council funded packages that Framework providers were not able to deliver.
Richard reported on an impact assessment being written for the residential sector to look at the Foundation Living Wage (FLW) implementation. The meeting discussed the impact that FLW was having on recruitment and retention and it was noted that no Provider reported any positive impact of the higher wage, however it was also noted that this may not have been the best period to monitor this due to the long and successful summer and high recruitment within the hospitality sector.
One Provider indicated that brokers are showing an interest in viewing and spending time in care homes, which is a positive, and it was highlighted that this should be happening with Dom Care too.
A discussion took place on the DPS, and it was highlighted that emailing Tyrone at the Council will enable Providers to implement the filter system that will prevent them from seeing packages that are outside of their operational area.
One Provider indicated that following sorting the filters correctly, they are very happy with how DPS is working for them. Other Providers have indicated that the system is labour intensive with a constant stream of emails. Further training on the DPS would be of benefit to a large number of Providers.
It was noted that the DPS is not able to handle certain packages such as fortnightly visits as the system only issues weekly visits.
Most Providers are reporting that payments have improved, however some are saying that it takes 2-3 weeks, and some are still owed historical payments dating back months.
Providers also reported that packages seem to be more short term rather than longer term.
The meeting also discussed where they have had to increase their rates for Direct Payments (which have not increased to the Service User) and private clients in order to maintain parity and ensure that they can pay the FLW, as a few Service Users are going back to the Council as they can no longer afford the higher rates.
Action: Richard to ask for a list of Providers on the DPS, or at least a total number of Providers on the DPS (both for Home Care and Supportive Lifestyles).
It was noted that there is still no specification for an Electronic Call Monitoring system (ECM) which Providers on the contract as expected to have fully operational by 1st September. It is not clear how the Council will manage using data from so many different and varied ECM systems. One Provider has a system that can provide a full report detailing all the care delivered over a time period, however the Council have requested one invoice per Service User, which is considerably less efficient.
One Provider not on the contract reported that they are enjoying their busiest and most profitable period for a while and that they are getting referrals from the District Nurse team, although they did acknowledge it is hard to do a like for like comparison.
Other Providers not on the contract also reported that they are very happy and successful not being part of the DPS contract.
It was highlighted that Providers are being contacted by brokers about packages before they are entered onto the DPS. The Provider is then doing all the work (scheduling, staffing, costing, etc) in the knowledge that they will win the package once it is entered onto the DPS. However other Providers will also see the package and undertake the same level of work in their bid to win the package, oblivious to the fact that they have no chance of winning the work. It doesn’t seem very equitable.
The meeting discussed Proud to Care and the recent letter from Bluebird care, which Providers thought was rather inappropriate as it was more about Bluebird rather than the Proud to Care scheme. The Council seemed unaware of this letter at the recent Partnership meeting.
The next Proud to Care meeting is 5th September, 9:30 to 12:00 at United Response’s offices in Threemilestone.
Bluebird are also looking to develop a service matching private clients to Home Care agencies with vacancies. Providers feel that they are capable of managing their own demand and have no need for such a service. It was also noted that any service operated by a Provider in its own right could be subject to bias, and would likely include unnecessary costs, either to the client or the Providers.
The meeting closed at 12:00