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Political uncertainty leaves care home budget cuts in the balance

Regardless of political leanings – anyone with an interest in the healthcare sector surely wanted to see greater investment going into the field and an increased focus on widening talent pipelines into the industry.

However, last week’s result didn’t provide a clear winner on either side – leaving many feeling slightly underwhelmed and concerned over the state of the country and, specifically, the health service. As we all know, care home budget cuts have had a cataclysmic impact on the sector and the services that many in need of care require and, as yet, it doesn’t seem as if a long term solution is in sight.

Care home cuts

According to research published in January of this year, a staggering 380 care homes have been forced out of business since 2010 with the total rising consistently since that year when 32 businesses collapsed. In 2015, 74 were declared insolvent while another 34 folded in the first half of 2016. The research also revealed that the hardest hit have been so-called “mom and pop” operators, who may run one or two care homes, but account for over half of the entire industry.

The care home budget cuts have perhaps had the biggest impact on the staffing side where employers have been pushed to lower their margins while still providing an outstanding level of quality of care. It’s not easy at the best of times to stock a care home full of compassionate and talented professionals, let alone when your finances are being constantly chipped away by a government with seemingly little concern for the patients in their care.

Unexpected result

Without becoming overly political, last Friday’s result was a surprise and highlights how Theresa May’s gamble on calling a snap election really didn’t pay off.

As Samantha Hurley, Director of Operations at The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCO) explained, “It is unfortunate that this result does not offer the level of stability that the UK desperately needs. In light of this uncertainty, the next Government should be especially careful to avoid knee jerk changes to taxation, employment regulation or visa controls associated with our exit from the EU.”

However, the fact that she has had to form a government with another party means we might still have a chance to drive more investment into the care sector.

We were all promised the idea of a ‘strong and stable’ government before the election and right now that’s what we’re in desperate need of. Someone needs to take the bull by the horns, realise the critical situation that the care and wider health markets are in and start rerouting investment into it. Otherwise, the current skills shortages and ongoing budget cuts are going to have an even more damaging impact.

What impact do you think the election result will have on the care sector?

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