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United Kingdom Homecare Association Ltd (UKHCA) is the professional association of home care providers from the independent, voluntary, not-for-profit and statutory sectors. UKHCA helps organisations that provide social care (also known as domiciliary care or homecare), which may include nursing services, to people in their own homes, promoting high standards of care and providing representation with national and regional policy-makers and regulators. The Association represents over two-thousand members across the United Kingdom, in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

  • If you are a member of the public and are looking for a homecare agency, please click here.

Simon Hamilton announces £1.6 million funding package for the care sector

Health Minister Simon Hamilton has announced an additional £1.6 million funding for social care in Northern Ireland. The additional funding is in recognition of growing pressures the sector is facing, particularly around recruitment.

The new money represents a 2% increase in fee rates for homecare providers, and was introduced on the 1st February.

This is an interim measure, the DHSSPS plans to continue to engage with the independent sector to arrive at a funding settlement for 2016/17.

For more information please see DHSSPS full press release: https://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/news/minister-announces-%C2%A316m-support-package-care-sector

Announcement posted on: 09 February 2016

 

Councils still using 15 minutes for personal care

UKHCA welcomes Unison’s report ‘Suffering alone at home’ released today which highlights that 74% of councils in England are still commissioning homecare visits of 15 minutes or fewer and short visits are still being used for personal care. UKHCA's Policy Director, Colin Angel, commented:

“We believe that the use of short visits is a result of the underfunding of care by government and councils. We fear that the use of very short visits will increase, as funding is set to deteriorate.

“Our concern is that assistance with washing, dressing, using the toilet or meal preparation is being crammed into insufficient time. The risks are that not all the necessary care can be delivered in the time available. Older and disabled people will feel that their care is rushed and undignified, and careworkers will find their work unsatisfying and they are unable to provide the care they desperately want to deliver."

NICE homecare guidance published in 2015 states that homecare visits shorter than half an hour should only be used if they do not compromise dignity or safety. The homecare worker should be known to the person, and the visit should be part of a wider package of support which allows enough time to complete specific, time limited tasks or to check if someone is safe and well. UKHCA media release.

Announcement posted on: 29 January 2016

 

Care Quality Commission seeks views on plans for next five years

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is seeking views on its plans for the next five years in a consultation document ‘Shaping the future’, which was produced following responses to CQC's 2015 discussion paper 'Building on Strong Foundations'. 

The Commission is proposing a single system of measuring quality to help providers better understand their quality of care and share this information with CQC. Data would be used to promote a risk-based approach to regulation, which would support a more targeted and tailored inspection programme that would allow CQC to inspect services rated 'good' and 'outstanding' less frequently and lend greater support to those performing less well. The consultation closes on 14 March 2016. UKHCA will be preparing a response on behalf of members, so please do email your views to policy@ukhca.co.uk by 29 February 2016.

The CQC is holding a live Twitter Q and A session between 1 and 2pm on Wednesday. To pose a question, send @CareQualityComm a tweet using the hashtag #CQCStrategy.

Announcement posted on: 27 January 2016

 

Have your say on NICE draft Quality Standard

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have announced an important consultation on the draft Homecare quality standard, which follows on from the NICE Homecare Guideline issued in September 2015. We would encourage all members in England to respond as this is a real opportunity to influence the shape of the NICE standards, which are designed to achieve measurable improvements in safety, user experience and care service effectiveness. For more see: www.ukhca.co.uk/cons.aspx?id=233051

Announcement posted on: 26 January 2016

 

UKHCA Submit Evidence to the Health Select Committee

The Health Select Committee recently carried out an inquiry into the impact of the Comprehensive Spending Review on health and social care. UKHCA submitted extensive evidence to the committee.

We raised a number of concerns, namely that the spending review did not provide sufficient funding to close the current financial deficit in the homecare sector and in the adult social care sector as a whole. We argued that this would impact negatively on quality of care and access to care.

We made it clear that the homecare sector was in need of a significant funding increase. Our submission to the select committee is available in full on our website: http://www.ukhca.co.uk/cons.aspx?id=232973 

Announcement posted on: 22 January 2016

 

Coping with very cold weather

With winter in full swing, Age UK is asking people to share its Winter Wrapped Up guide, which contains useful tips on heating at home, eating well and keeping warm. The guide reminds readers that the ideal temperature for the bedroom is 18°C (64°F) and 21°C (70°F) for a living room. It warns older people that the colder your home, the higher the risk to your health.

The Met Office issues severe weather warnings at: www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings/, and you can also sign up for email alerts at: www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/guide-to-emails

Announcement posted on: 15 January 2016

 

January edition of Homecarer now available for members

The January edition of Homecarer is now available for members to download. In this issue: Chair Mike Padgham considers the challenges of 2016 and says it may be another difficult year for providers; CEO Bridget Warr looks at Government plans to boost local spending on adult social care and our activities in the devolved nations; Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP consider myths surrounding the National Minimum Wage; Policy Officer Jonathon Holmes describes the social care provisions in the Government’s Spending Review; we report on our successful Wales conference and provider event in Northern Ireland ; Senior Campaigns Officer Duncan White reports on two conferences in Scotland that drive forward social care policy; Policy Officer Dominic Carter considers equality in the workplace; Training specialist Jayne Easterbrook answers questions on training in England; we give advance notice of our new look website and Code of Practice and push on with Save Our Homecare campaign and petition. Download Homecarer.

Announcement posted on: 11 January 2016

 

Care sector joins together to warn of threat to services from underfunded National Living Wage

Following the budget announcement for spending plans in Wales social care commissioners, providers and representative bodies are together warning Welsh Government that the additional costs of the new National Living Wage could lead to a catastrophic failure across care services, unless urgent action is taken to address continued underfunding.


The Association of Directors of Social Services Cymru (ADSSC) and National Provider Forum, which is chaired by UKHCA, have written to Ministers on behalf of providers and commissioners to underline concerns around the future viability of social care provision in Wales.

Read the full report here and the letter here

Announcement posted on: 11 January 2016

 

UKHCA respond to CQC consultation on proposed increases in registration fees

UKHCA have now submitted a response to CQC's consultation on proposed fee increases for registered providers of homecare.

We made the case that the scale of the proposed increases and the timeframe CQC had given to achieve full cost recovery were unreasonable, particularly at this time of financial constraint within the sector.

UKHCA's full submission is available here: http://www.ukhca.co.uk/cons.aspx?id=232874 

We also issued a consultation briefing which details CQC's proposals for our sector in detail: http://www.ukhca.co.uk/downloads.aspx?ID=491 

Announcement posted on: 08 January 2016

 

Minister appoints expert panel to lead the debate on health and social care reform in Northern Ireland

Simon Hamilton has appointed a panel of international experts to oversee and lead the debate on the future of health and social care reform in Northern Ireland, following on from the publication of the Donaldson Review in 2014 and his recent announcement that health and care provision in the province was in need of radical reform.

The panel, led by Prof. Rafael Bengoa, will lead the debate on the future and transformation of health and social care.

UKHCA will be looking to actively engage with the panel and make a strong case for homecare over the coming months.

The DHSSPS media release is available in full here: https://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/news/hamilton-appoints-expert-panel-lead-debate-delivering-world-class-health-and-social-care 

Announcement posted on: 08 January 2016

 

Flooding - the clear up begins

A huge thank you to the providers and staff who battled on to provide homecare services in the floods, working tirelessly alongside local authorities to carry out emergency plans and ensure people were safe and looked after. For providers who have been involved in helping people to clear up, Public Health England has issued guidance on how to clean up your home safely. There is also advice for the public on flooding, including drawing up a personal flood plan. The Government has allocated £60m to local authorities in England to help people and businesses affected by flooding, and will apply the Barnett formula to this funding so devolved administrations receive £7.5 million.

England - Environment Agency: www.gov.uk/prepare-for-a-flood
Wales - Natural Resources Wales: http://naturalresources.wales/flooding/alerts-and-warnings/flood-alerts-and-warnings/?lang=en 
Scotland
- Scottish Environment Protection Agency: www.sepa.org.uk/environment/water/flooding/
Northern Ireland - Northern Ireland Direct: http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/flooding-in-your-area 
Insurance advice for individuals and businesses: www.abi.org.uk

Announcement posted on: 06 January 2016

 

New figures on A&E waiting times and delayed discharges in Northern Ireland released 

New figures on waiting times for A&E and increasing rates of delayed discharges for people awaiting packages of care have been released. The figures show that demand for A&E services at some hospitals increased particularly quickly over the last weekend:

  • The Ulster Hospital saw an increase in demand of 25%
  • Antrim Area Hospital saw an increase in demand of 17%
  • Craigavon Area Hospital saw an increase in demand of 15%

A lack of packages of care in the community has been a key cause of this rapid rise, as delayed discharges have seen waiting times increase. New figures show that 229 people across Northern Ireland were awaiting discharge for eight or more weeks.

Announcement posted on: 05 January 2016

 

Looking for homecare for yourself or a relative?

If you are looking for homecare, the Find a Homecare Agency feature of our website can help you. Here you will find contact details of homecare providers who are members of UKHCA and who have agreed to comply with our Code of Practice. To search for a homecare provider, please go to www.ukhca.co.uk/findcare/ and enter the type of care you are looking for, plus the postcode of where the care will be delivered. Then click 'Search' and a list of our member organisations will come up, beginning with the nearest geographically to the postcode you have entered. 

We suggest that people looking for care read our leaflet "Choosing care at home" which is a quick-start guide to finding and using a homecare agency, and includes questions you might want to ask an agency before you agree to use them.

Announcement posted on: 23 December 2015

 

Local government settlement announced

The draft local government settlement for 2016/17 announced to the House of Commons on 17 December brings in greater localisation, with local authorities in England able to raise more money locally to fund services, but in turn receiving less money from central government. Councils have the option of four year funding deals to plan for when they can keep all the business rates they receive. As expected, councils with social services responsibilities will be able to raise up to 2% extra a year for the next four years to fund adult social care. But the changes take place against a backdrop of cuts, and there will undoubtedly be winners and losers amongst councils as the new funding system beds in. Public Finance commentary on settlement. The consultation closes on 15 January 2016.

Announcement posted on: 18 December 2015

 

Social care sector response to Spending Review

Following Government's disappointing Spending Review announcement UKHCA has joined commissioners, providers and those who represent older and disabled people to present an Open Letter to the Chancellor and urge him to take immediate action to prevent significant market instability. UKHCA media release.

Announcement posted on: 09 December 2015

 

Chancellor urged to take action to save care sector

UKHCA through the Care Provider Alliance support the open letter to the Chancellor and Secretaries of State for Health and Communities issued Wednesday 9 December.


Colin Angel, UKHCA’s Policy and Campaigns Director said:

“There is an urgent need for adequate funding of the social care system right now. The introduction of the National Living Wage, if not funded by councils which purchase the majority of care, increases the risk of providers exiting the state-funded market.

“This collective response from across the sector says that although we welcome the Chancellor’s attempt to address social care, we are far from confident as to whether a 2% levy on council tax bills and the increase of the Better Care Fund will prevent the immediate threat of social care providers exiting the market.

“The Chancellor needs to hear the message from all sides of the social care sector and act decisively.”

Ends

Announcement posted on: 09 December 2015

 

HSCB publish regional review of domiciliary care

The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) have now published their regional review of domiciliary care. The review is intended to analyse the state of the homecare market in Northern Ireland and develop greater market intelligence.

The review suggests that the procurement of services in Northern Ireland is in need of reform, and that the rate paid for homecare does impact on the functioning of the market.

The review is available in full here: http://www.hscboard.hscni.net/publications/2015/16-11-2015%20Domiciliary_Care_in_NI.pdf 

Announcement posted on: 01 December 2015

 

Spending Review offers minimal reassurance to homecare providers

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has today delivered the Comprehensive Spending Review. This sets out how Government will spend money over the coming years.

Key announcements included one to introduce powers to local authorities to levy a 2% social care precept on council tax. All money raised by this means would have to spent on social care.

The Chancellor said that this could raise £2 billion to spend on social care by 2020.

For more information please see UKHCA's press release.

http://www.ukhca.co.uk/mediastatement_information.aspx?releaseID=232928 

Announcement posted on: 25 November 2015

 

Council tax levy unlikely to meet shortfall in social care funding

Chancellor George Osborne announced in his Spending Review and Autumn Statement that local authorities responsible for social care will be able to levy a new social care precept of up to 2% on council tax. The money raised would have to be spent exclusively on adult social care. The Chancellor said if all authorities choose to make full use of it, it will bring almost £2 billion more into the social care system by 2020.

UKHCA Policy Director Colin Angel commented: "Even if all councils increased council tax by 2%, it would raise less than £500m next year. In the homecare sector alone a £753m deficit is predicted for 2016-17."

Chancellor's speech. Blue book (see page 39). Department of Health's settlement. Local Government Funding.

Announcement posted on: 25 November 2015

 

Care Sector gives further warning to the Chancellor

As speculation about Wednesday’s Spending Review and Autumn Statement reaches fever pitch, the care sector has made a further, last ditch appeal to the Chancellor.

UKHCA was one of a coalition of 15 major social-care organisations that issued a joint letter to the Chancellor following emergency talks last week, warning of the severe consequences for the care sector if public funding is insufficient. Signatories included ADASS, Age UK, Carers UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Citizens UK, the Living Wage Foundation, GMB Union and the trade bodies for independent care home and domiciliary care providers. The coalition warned that both the care home and domiciliary care markets face becoming financially unviable without an urgent funding settlement, and experts believe the collapse of social care would lead to an unprecedented NHS crisis, with hospitals overwhelmed by thousands of vulnerable older people. Guardian coverage. Watch on Parliament TV at 12.30 pm on 25 November 2015.

Announcement posted on: 23 November 2015

 

UKHCA responds to CQC's Building on Strong Foundations paper on the future of regulation

UKHCA has responded to the Care Quality Commission's new discussion paper, Building on Strong Foundations which outlines the choices it faces regulating health and social care in the future. The Commission asked for providers' views ahead of a consultation on its new strategy in January 2016. Colin Angel, UKHCA Policy Director, said: "This was an extremely important consultation for regulated care providers in England." The consultation has now closed. 

Announcement posted on: 19 November 2015

 

Leading organisations write to Prime Minister with mounting evidence of social care crisis

The Care & Support Alliance has written to the Prime Minister outlining the growing evidence that social care is in crisis, with £4.6 billion in funding already taken out of the system while care needs are rising. The Alliance, which includes UKHCA, urges the Prime Minister to ensure that next week's Spending Review addresses this crisis. It warns that failure to do so runs the risk of this Government presiding over a serious collapse of services vital to the most vulnerable older and disabled people and their carers. Letter to the Prime Minister.

Remember to sign and share the Save Our Homecare petition to have your voice heard. Please spread the word and encourage your staff teams and social networks to do the same.

Announcement posted on: 18 November 2015

 

Wales to start compulsory workforce registration from 2020

Health Minister Mark Drakeford AM has announced the roll out of compulsory registration for domiciliary workers in Wales from 2020. The new provisions will be in the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Bill, currently before the National Assembly, and are due to come in from April 2017. The registration of adult residential care workers will follow in 2022.

The Welsh Government has said it will prioritise funding for a three-year development programme from April 2016 to prepare domiciliary care workers for registration, with the register opening in April 2018. Professor Drakeford said: "In addition to the development programme, we will be working with the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales to create greater transparency in relation to the workforce through service regulation so public assurance can be increased in advance of mandatory registration. This workforce information will become available from April 2017." Video of announcement.

Announcement posted on: 16 November 2015

 

Delayed discharges from hospital due to people awaiting homecare rises again

New data from NHS England has shown that delayed discharges are increasing rapidly, demonstrating the need for additional funding in the Spending Review. In September 2015 the total days lost to the NHS because people were waiting for a package of homecare was 26,152. This represents a 33% increase on the same figure for September 2014. NHS England data

UKHCA has published an analysis of delayed discharges: http://www.ukhca.co.uk/downloads.aspx?ID=489

Announcement posted on: 13 November 2015

 

Simon Hamilton outlines plans for the future of social care and health in Northern Ireland

Minister for Health, Simon Hamilton MLA, has given a speech outlining his plans for the future of social care in Northern Ireland following the recommendations made in the Donaldson Review.

Most notably he announced proposals to disband the Health and Social Care Board and to appoint an expert local panel to lead the debate on the future configuration of health and social care in Northern Ireland.

The Minister's speech is available in full online.

Announcement posted on: 05 November 2015

 

Just time to complete CQC's Adult Social Care Provider Survey

CQC's annual provider survey is now live. The survey is providers' chance to tell CQC what they think about their approach, and whether their work helps to identify good practice and encourages improvement. It gives regulated providers in England the chance to feedback on their experiences of, and contact with, CQC. Take the survey here: Adult Social Care Provider Survey CQC say the survey will close at midday on Wednesday 11th November 2015.  The survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete, and feedback will remain anonymous

Announcement posted on: 03 November 2015

 

UKHCA hits out at dramatic increase in fees proposed by CQC

UKHCA has hit out at proposals for a 313% increase in homecare providers' fees by the Care Quality Commission in England, to be phased over two or four years.

This flies in the face of gross underfunding of state-funded social care with an £3.6bn shortfall in council funding which has already placed fees paid for care by councils at unacceptably low levels.

Colin Angel, UKHCA’s Policy Director, described the increases as outrageous. He said: “Homecare providers have been largely supportive of the new approach to inspection and the introduction of quality ratings, but the Commission has yet to demonstrate that it represents good value for money for the organisations it regulates".

The Association has issued members with a briefing on the proposals.

Full UKHCA media release. CQC consultation.

Announcement posted on: 02 November 2015

 

Underfunding in the homecare market

Funding is the biggest issue for the homecare sector and that is why councils must play their part in creating a stable social care market.

Colin Angel, UKHCA Policy and Campaigns Director tackles the tough questions about homecare market stability in a Care Management Matters feature.

Announcement posted on: 27 October 2015

 

UKHCA appoints new board members

United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) this week elected new board members following their recent annual general meeting.

The Association would like to welcome new directors:-

• Mike Smith, Trinity Homecare Group Limited
• Jane Townson, Somerset Care Limited
• Richard Walker, Optimo Care Group Limited
• Fiona Williams, Bluebird Care Company Limited

UKHCA’s board bids farewell and thanks Steve Allen, Peter King and Wayne Rees, who stepped down from the board having reached the end of their three year term in office.

Max Wurr was re-elected to the board. Both Lynda Gardner and Trevor Brocklebank have been re-elected and will continue to perform the role of Honorary Secretary and Treasurer respectively.

Announcement posted on: 23 October 2015

 

Dementia and Homecare: Driving Quality & Innovation

Nine actions for change have been called for to inspire dementia care in the community, with care providers, commissioners, regulators and health sector partners all urged to take action. These are contained within a new report that demonstrates how skilled homecare can play a pivotal role in enabling people living with dementia and their family to live well in the environment of their choice, at home.

United Kingdom Homecare Association today (21 October 2015) releases the report ‘Dementia & Homecare: Driving Quality & Innovation’, as part of the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia. The report seeks to provide clear, practical guidance and examples of innovative practice to further dementia care in the community, and what is required to spread these examples across the sector. Full media release.

Announcement posted on: 21 October 2015

 

CQC publishes the state of health care and adult social in England 2014/15

Following CQC inspections across health and social care, today (15 October) sees the publication of their annual report. To view the publication visit CQC's website.

Announcement posted on: 15 October 2015

 

Homecare market under threat from low council fees

Independent and voluntary sector homecare providers receiving low fees from local authorities could be forced into withdrawing from care, or going out of business, according to a recent United Kingdom Homecare Association survey. The findings compound an already critically underfunded care system.

The survey gathered data from a total of 492 homecare providers in the UK, with 63% of them trading with one or more local authorities. Many providers have indicated that they are already forced to hand back contracts for people’s care to their local authorities which purchase them because prices paid are uneconomic.

Colin Angel, UKHCA Policy Director said: “A stable, effective homecare sector is vital to over 883,000 older and disabled people who rely on homebased care each year. The low fees paid by local councils and a lack of funding for the new National Living Wage, place the future of the home care market in an extremely vulnerable position."

UKHCA press releaseUKHCA Survey.

Announcement posted on: 08 October 2015

 

Have your say - Save Our Homecare e-petition launched Save Our Homecare logo

UKHCA has launched the Save Our Homecare e-petition to demonstrate to Government the urgent need to fund homecare services properly – both for today and the future. The Save Our Homecare initiative is part of UKHCA’s wider campaign to influence Government ahead of the spending review this November. The e-petition is live here and Save Our Homecare Facebook and Twitter pages have been launched to help spread the word.

See the Supporter Pack for UKHCA members which has ideas and resources to help members get involved and spread the word about the campaign.

Every signature counts - A strong demonstration of public support for the Save Our Homecare petition will send a powerful message to Government of the need for action.

Announcement posted on: 01 October 2015

 

National Minimum Wage Rates Increase

The National Minimum Wage rate has today, 1st October 2015, increased from £6.50 per hour to £6.70 per hour.

This increase has been reflected in our costing model and means that UKHCA's Minimum Price for Homecare is now £16.16 per hour.

Announcement posted on: 01 October 2015

 

UKHCA's response to the NICE homecare guideline

UKHCA welcomes the NICE Homecare Guideline issued today and believes that homecare providers and front line care workers will find it beneficial in their daily practices.

UKHCA Policy and Campaigns Director, Colin Angel said:
 
“The guideline highlights the necessity for individualised approaches to care and reflects the evidence base of what we know will best support people with social care needs at home. It is vital that these approaches are implemented by front-line workers and those responsible for commissioning services, particularly in relation to the time available to provide dignified care.
 
“We know that people who use home based care value the relationships that they build with those who support them, but can be frustrated if their care is not properly coordinated between different professionals. Therefore we are particularly pleased to see the recommendation of a “named care coordinator” principle in the Guideline."

To view the NICE Guideline visit:
www.nice.org.uk/news/article/offer-personalised-care-to-support-those-who-need-help-to-live-at-home

Announcement posted on: 23 September 2015

 

“Working Time” and the National Minimum Wage

There was considerable media reporting yesterday (10 September 2015) relating to the interpretation of “working time” following a judgement by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The judgement relates to workers who do not have a fixed place of work, which is likely to include the majority of homecare workers. Much of the media coverage has implied that this will affect what counts as "working time" for the purposes of the National Minimum Wage. Our initial legal advice is that it will not. However, it will affect what counts as "working time" under the Working Time Regulations. For more information, UKHCA members should see the briefing we have emailed to them today, which has been prepared with the assistance of Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP.

Announcement posted on: 11 September 2015

 

UKHCA submit evidence to HM Treasury on Spending Review 2015

UKHCA have submitted extensive evidence to HM Treasury on the 2015 Spending Review. This Spending Review will inform how public money is allocated and spent for the next five years.

We made a robust case for increased funding for homecare and meeting the extra costs of the National Living Wage. We showed that underfunding homecare undermines market stability, impacts upon the continuity of care for people who use services and places undue demand side pressure on the NHS.

Members can see how we responded in full here.

Announcement posted on: 04 September 2015

 

New Member Resource: Personalisation Factsheet

Personalisation is a policy directive that continues to develop across the UK, it is fundamentally about securing better outcomes for people who use services and giving individuals a more active role in the delivery, management and commissioning of care.

UKHCA's new factsheet will give members an overview of personalisation policy across the UK as well as practical advice to help members develop a truly personalised service and tips for how to deal with potential challenges as personalisation policy continues to develop.

http://www.ukhca.co.uk/downloads.aspx?ID=470 

Announcement posted on: 18 August 2015

 

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