The recent LaingBuisson Social Care conference gave a compelling summary as to the situation the Social Care market currently finds itself in and possible suggestions of what may be around the corner. After listening to some very good presentations and having some very interesting conversations, one thing struck home to me more than anything else. The Care market is full of contradictions.
Here, we unpick the Homecare and Supported Living market.
The headline in the Homecare market was that it had been hit harder by the spending cuts than other areas of Social Care. The Homecare and Supported Living market is currently valued at approximately £5bn in England (£5.9bn UK projection). Of that, council funded care represents around 61% of spend, privately funded care at 22%, care via direct payments equals 11% and NHS commissioned care just under 6%. At the event, there was the suggestion that the increased take up of Direct Payments could help redefine the direction of the Homecare market, but more needs to be done to make this a more appealing prospect for the individual.
Pressure on providers was evident, with inconsistent hourly rates of pay across the 152 councils ranging from just under £12 to around £20 per hour. The top 10 providers in the market now equated for 21% of the provision in the market, following some big changes in the last 12 months but profitability continues to be put under pressure which could mean scaling back activities or costs which could have a knock on effect on quality.
The introduction of a fair and transparent procurement process in the Homecare category at our NHS clients has seen a growth in the number of providers delivering services. The larger providers are seeing their market share reduced as the packages become more evenly spread, giving our clients greater peace of mind that the risk of supply in that category is being reduced.