In July, the government announced that they will be increasing the NHS Funded Nursing Care payment for nursing home residents from £112 to £156.25 per week in England. The increase should be applied immediately but will only apply until January 2017, when it may change again.
Many of our callers have not heard about NHS Funded Nursing Care before speaking to us. Every person who needs nursing care in a nursing home is entitled to a small amount of funding from the NHS. Their local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) pays a weekly, flat-rate amount towards their care. This amount is fixed by the government and is called the NHS Funded Nursing Care payment. It is this amount of money that has been increased.
As a result, some nursing home residents may be eligible for a rebate. The government’s increase to the weekly NHS Funded Nursing Care payment has been applied retrospectively to 1 April 2016. During this period, nursing home residents who pay for their own care (also known as self-funders) are likely to have been paying the full nursing home fee minus the old NHS Funded Nursing Care payment of £112 per week. If the nursing home is then given the retrospective increase by the CCG, the resident might end up paying more than the full nursing home fee over this period – creating an overpayment on that account.
People who are paying their own nursing home fees may want to ask for the overpayment to be refunded to them. It may be that the nursing home would prefer it to be used to reduce future fees. However, if a nursing home refuses to pass on this rebate to a self-funding resident, we would encourage you to call us for further advice on 0800 319 6789.
Over the summer we heard from Mark, whose mother has been living in a care home with nursing for the past 10 months. She pays for her own care and is eligible for NHS Funded Nursing Care. He told us:
“My mother has been paying for her nursing home since late 2015. The fees are a lot of money but we’re happy with the home and the care they give her. Shortly after she moved into the nursing home, my mother was assessed as being eligible for NHS Funded Nursing Care and the weekly payment of £112 per week was deducted from her overall fees.
In August of this year I was told my mother’s nursing home fees would increase by £44.25 per week backdated to 1 April 2016 – effectively absorbing the government’s increase to NHS Funded Nursing Care. The nursing home said my mother’s contribution would stay the same – despite the overall fee increase. They also said the NHS Funded Nursing Care increase was intended to cover increased staffing costs caused by the rise in the National Living Wage.
As I hadn’t received anything from the nursing home in writing, I sought advice from Independent Age and some other agencies. It didn’t feel right that the nursing home could increase their fees without warning. I was told that the NHS Funded Nursing Care payment was linked to nurses’ wages and therefore nothing to do with the National Living Wage. I was advised to ask for a rebate for my mother for the April-July period. It was also suggested that I check my mother’s contract and look for particular clauses about fee increases.
After making our case to the nursing home, they agreed to give my mother credit for the backdated increase. This was slightly over £600 and can be taken off a future payment. They also agreed they wouldn’t increase my mother’s weekly fees until next year, as the contract states they will only raise their fees once a year. To date this had led to a further saving of just over £900.
I’m pleased with the outcome but I think there needs to be better regulation of fee increases and how they’re applied. The process is totally opaque at the moment.”