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Flexible staffing in health and care set for a smoother future?

29 May 2013

The UK commercial flexible health and care staffing services market, made up of health and care staffing agencies, independent sector homecare provision, and doctor deputising, was worth some £8.4bn in 2012 – marking real growth of more than 22% over the past five years.

According to a new market report from Laing & Buisson, Flexible Staffing in Health and Care UK Market Report 2013, this growth was driven by increased demand from NHS hospital and community services with NHS agency spending having risen by 42% since 2007.

A buoyant homecare market for most of the period also added strong value to this staffing environment, though its contribution diminished in the last 24 months as local authority purchasing was tightened. Conversely agency use by independent sector care homes picked up in the last 12 months as demand for elderly care services moved upwards.

However, on the flipside the healthcare practitioner locum market, covering GPs, dentists, pharmacists, opticians, therapists and other practitioners in primary care settings as a whole was largely static over the period. Though underpinned by strong workforce growth across most occupations in the late 2000s, looser practitioner labour markets in the last two years has put pressure on locum spending for most practitioners within healthcare.

Nevertheless, the only flexible health and care staffing segment to experience a significant real contraction in spending in the last five years was Social Services. Sharp cuts in local authority budgets under the Coalition have pushed down social work and other social care agency spend as local authorities are operating with significantly less vacancies, and increasing numbers of temporary workers have sought substantive positions.

To find out more, and to download a brochure, click here

 

NHS spending on independent healthcare services up over 10%

4 March 2013

In their penultimate operational year PCTs across England increased their spend on services commissioned from independent healthcare providers by 10.7%. This compared to a 3.5% increase in total healthcare spending from NHS and non-NHS providers.

According to Laing and Buisson’s new NHS Financial Information 2013*, total NHS spending on healthcare services supplied by the independent sector in England - covering private companies and voluntary organisations - was estimated at £5.9bn in 2011/2012 - some 6.5% of the £90.7bn total healthcare spending by PCTs in England during the period. This marks decent overall growth from the £5.3bn spend in 2010/2011, then equivalent to 6.1% of total spending.

Driving this increase was strong growth of over a third in spending on independent community health services (£1.5bn), energised by the end of direct provision by PCTs during the year. It was further supported by strong growth in general and acute health service spending, which rose by nearly a fifth to be £1.6bn.

However, not all health sectors fared well.

PCT spending on primary care services supplied by independent sector providers fell sharply by over a quarter (26%) to £84m, while there was another sharp decline in spending on learning difficulties (down 12%), and spending on mental healthcare was static.

Spending more than any other PCT on independent healthcare services, Birmingham East and North PCT increased its spend by 10% in 2011/2012 to reach £201m. Surrey PCT was the next highest at £185m but increased its spend by an even larger 14%. Increased dependency on the independent sector was most notable from Nottingham City where spend was up from £85m to £136m, and Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, up from £77m to £120m. Meanwhile there was no real increase in dependency in Hampshire, and Yorkshire.

Consultancy spending more stable

Spending on consultancy services by Trusts was more stable in 2011/2012, showing only a small real decline following sharp cutbacks a year earlier which were fuelled by the NHS goal to realise massive cost savings by 2014 under a new commissioning structure. In England and Wales the NHS spent an estimated £466m during the year, compared to £457m a year earlier but still well down from consultancy spend of £605m in 2009/2010.

New commissioning arrangements underpin reduced spending by most PCTs, which overall moved down from £138m to £110m, and saw Strategic Health Authorities spend noticeably less, moving from £36m to £24m.

Notable examples include City and Hackney Teaching PCT which spent £7.9m in 2010/2011 but only £4.7m in 2011/2012, and Oxfordshire PCT, down to £4.9m from £7.3m. However, against this trend Westminster PCT more than doubled its spend from £4.7m to £12.4m, the highest of any PCT. Similarly, Wandsworth PCT moved sharply up from £1.9m to £7.6m.

Unaffected by a new NHS structure, however, was the use of consultants by NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts, as their combined spend increased strongly from £278m to £325m, driven by leading London Trusts. The largest single spender here was King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which increased its spending by close to a third from £24.6m to £32.3m. The second largest was Guy’s and St Thomas where consultancy spend went up by 50%, rising from £10.7m to £16.8m. Barts moved from £5.5m to £8.8m. Outside London a notable climber was East Sussex Hospitals Trust which spent £4.9m in 2011/2012, compared with less than a million a year earlier.

NHS private patient incomes up ahead of inflation

NHS Financial Information 2013 also reports that total private patient income of NHS Trusts in the UK was £471m in 2011/2012, increasing by 5.3% from £448m in 2010/2011, edging ahead of economy inflation. However, regional trends confirm that growth was stronger in London, with the Top 5 private earners (Royal Marsden, Royal Brompton & Harefield, Guy’s & St Thomas, Moorfields, and King’s College) seeing combined revenues climb by 15%. Health and social service Trusts in Northern Ireland also reported strong growth (up 9.5%), but conversely, private patient income fell sharply for the NHS in Scotland (down 18%), and in Wales (down 8%).

To find out more, and to download a brochure, click here

 

Missing the CQC stars? Laing & Buission's Care Compliance Monitor is on hand

10 January 2013

For a long time it has not been possible to answer the questions: Which groups do well and which do badly? How are they changing over time?  How does the for-profit sector as a whole perform versus the not-for-profit and statutory sectors? How do homes for older people compare with specialist homes for younger adults? and which local authority areas do best and worst in terms of compliance amongst care homes within their areas.

Laing & Buisson is pleased to end this dearth of information by releasing a new subscription-based product which provides mouse-click manipulation of inspection results of all operational care homes across England.

The Care Compliance Monitor pools headline data from the care watchdog’s inspection reports presenting a digested view of facilities’ performance. In doing so it's possible to produce a series of league tables which can reveal:

•   Best to worse performing care groups in England
•   Best to worse performing individual homes in England
•   Local authority with the best performing/worse performing homes
•   Overall performance by sector


Purchase of Care Compliance Monitor immediately entitles you to the most up-to-date version of these spreadsheets as well as the quartlery updates that will be produced through the year.

To find out more visit the Laing & Buisson website to download the brochure or speak to one of our sales team on 020 7841 0045 to find out more.

Are you receiving a 'fair price for care'? And are you paying a 'fair price' for care?

23 October 2012

Payments which local authorities are willing to make for care home places for older people have slipped even further away from the levels deemed ‘fair’ to cover the costs involved and to give care home operators a reasonable rate of return on their investment, according to the latest research from healthcare market intelligence provider Laing & Buisson.

What’s more, the analyst claims that this latest investigation into ‘fair fees’ suggests that even if the Dilnot Commission’s recommendations on insuring against care costs were to be brought in, this funding would cover fail to cover even half the costs they are intended to finance.

Laing & Buisson’s latest revision to the well-respected Fair Price for Care toolkit has shown that dependency levels of care home and nursing home residents have risen faster than expected. Taken in combination with minimal increases in state funding for care home places, this means that the majority of English public sector funding agencies do not currently pay fees that are sufficient to encourage care home operators to invest in new capacity for state-funded clients.

Work carried out to revise the figures which sit behind the toolkit shows that average fee rate currently being paid by councils for residential care is now £50 per week below the ‘floor’ rate (a rate intended to apply to physically poor quality care home whose physical environment is ‘on the borderline of acceptability) and substantially below the ‘ceiling’ rate (intended for those providers which have invested in their facilities.

For more details read our full press release here and our product page here 


Record activity in independent hospitals belies a flat market

3 October 2012

Private & voluntary (independent sector) hospitals in the UK are admitting an annual 1.64 million patients for surgical treatments in 2012, equivalent to some 14.5% of total surgical admissions in all (NHS and independent) UK hospitals, a record level of activity for the sector, according to Laing and Buisson’s new Private Acute Medical Care UK market report.

However, this new report highlights that activity has been driven by increased NHS admissions, as spending on acute medical care by private patients has been flat since 2005.

The independent sector faces a challenge to grow its private patient customer base, as its NHS surgical activity begins to mature. Stronger competition for private patients, and efficient delivery of increased (low margin) NHS work represent a challenging picture for hospitals.

For more details read our report product page here 


Best in independent healthcare celebrated at IHA 2012

19 September 2012

Healthcare professionals representing the best of the independent sector gathered in central London last night at the Independent Healthcare Awards 2012 to honour those providers, practitioners and pioneers who are leading the field when it comes to the state of the UK's health and care services.

For more details read our full press release here


Private Medical cover - better but still suffering the woes of a weak economy

28 August 2012

Demand for health cover appeared more stable in 2011 as the number of private medical cover policies in the UK edged down very marginally to reach 3.91m at the start of 2012.

Findings in Health Cover UK Market Report 2012 highlight vulnerable trends at a time when the UK economy is weak. Most notable is the continued downward slide in individual demand for private medical cover, as there was clear polarisation in fortunes across sectors in 2011.

Author Philip Blackburn commented: 'Some headline stability in demand for private medical cover looks to be welcome news for the industry, at a time when the economy is struggling to grow at all.'

For more details read our report product page here


Two year-old funding injection - make or break for nurseries

6 August 2012

Demand for children's nurseries service in the UK stalled in 2011 as slightly fewer children attended during the year, according to the latest Laing & Buisson data.

Findings published in Children;s Nurseries UK Market Report 2012 show that 2001 market value was the same in real terms as in 2007, confirming that the economic depression has not dented the children;s nurseries sector as it has many other service sectors.

Looking ahead, author Philip Blackburn commented: 'The sector looks to face a progressive future with increased demand spurred by the government's funding of part-time places for two year olds, supported by some growth in the economy and a higher under 5s population for the time being.'

For more details read our report product page here


Setting a new standard in senior appointments for the healthcare sector

1 August 2012

Laing & Buisson has joined forces with specialist healthcare recruiter James Rumfitt to create Laing & Buisson Recruitment.

Drawing upon both parties’ extensive knowledge of UK healthcare, the new company will provide search and selection recruitment services for senior management and main board roles. In addition a full range of talent management, tracking and evaluation services will be offered.

Making the announcement, Laing & Buisson chief executive William Laing said: ‘James' strategic insight and the company’s unique market knowledge will deliver superior results. At a time of unprecedented change in healthcare this new venture has the ability to deliver the best possible leaders for healthcare now and identify and deliver the next generation.’

Commenting on the new venture, James said: ‘Too often head-hunting is seen as a 'black art' from which both the clients and the candidates are excluded. Laing & Buisson Recruitment is different – it is an inclusive, open and clear minded organisation where processes, strategies and goals are wholly directed to delivering successful results for both clients and candidates.’
 
Laing & Buisson Recruitment will develop strategic partnerships with its clients where the level of mutual trust and understanding ensures that the placements made are not just the best people looking for a role but the very best people in their field.

James will be attending Laing & Buisson’s Independent Healthcare Forum on 5 September 2012 where he looks forward to meeting friends old and new in an informal and relaxed setting. The Forum will feature a keynote address by Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley as well as plenary sessions lead by General Medical Council chief executive Niall Dickson and Monitor chief operating officer Stephen Hay.

To find out more visit: www.laingbuissonrecruitment.com



Health and care providers are safe in the hands of private equity

17 July 2012

The incentives under which private equity operates in the UK health and care sector are well aligned with the public interest in maintaining efficient provider businesses offering high quality services, according to a report published today by healthcare market intelligence provider Laing & Buisson.

Detailed analysis of independently provided health and care services has concluded that as long as there is a need for innovation and system change in the face of government spending constraints, the presence of private equity in UK healthcare is an important means by which to secure capital which funds new capacity and the upgrading of existing assets.

The Role of Private Equity in UK Health & Care Services states that key contributions made by private equity include capital investment; driving innovation; promoting efficiency and the support of consolidation in fragile marketplaces. What’s more, it claims that private equity could play an increasingly important role in helping the government to achieve its objective of migrating services out of NHS hospitals and into safe, more convenient and more economical community-based settings.

The report states: ‘Private equity is an important source of capital at a time when other sources are largely constrained. The private equity industry has funded the renewal of large swathes of care delivery sites over the last ten years. Without this investment modernisation would have been much more limited.’

According to Laing & Buisson’s independent research, commissioned by the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA), if all UK health and care companies which have some financial contact with private equity backers are taken into consideration* their services amount to just 5% of all public and independent sector supply of health, social care and special education services.

Download the report from our free reports section here.


Laing & Buisson dubs Lansley's vision 'thoroughly modern'

11 July 2012

Laing & Buisson chief executive William Laing has commented on the long awaited social care reform papers from the coalition government:

'This is a thoroughly modern White Paper, with the government placing its reliance on canny consumers surfing the web for information and using their personal budgets sparingly, while the Big Society steps in with time banks and time credits to help keep people away from expensive formal services.

Those who hoped for a major injection of new funds will be disappointed. But at a time when the main overriding priority of the government is eradicating the public spending deficit, the focus on prevention and choice through better information is perhaps inevitable.

He added:

Some longstanding policy idea are given a push forward, including national eligibility criteria, portable assessments and more extensive deferred payments. There is also an interesting promise to 'rule out crude contracting by the minute', which would be a welcome change for homecare, though how such a deeply embedded approach to contracting can be turned around remains to be seen.

A small amount of new money is promised, like all White Papers should, with a £40m a year stimulus for extra care for the next five years and a further £100-200m a year for joint funding of health and social care.'

Addressing the decision to release a progress report on care funding reform, Mr Laing said:

'As far as the big money is concerned, Dilnot does not even rate a mention in the Executive Summary. it is only in the progress report on funding reform that the government gives its somewhat vague conclusions from a year of thought that - "The government agrees that the principles of the Commission;s model would be the right basis for any new funding model - financial protection thought capped costs and an extended means test."

Nor do the other big money-hungry elephants in the room rate a mention - including inadequate care home fees and more resources for council paid social care generally.'

He concluded:

'Following on from last year's Southern Cross debacle, the government calls for the collection of 'better market and provider intelligence'. We thought that was what Laing & Buisson had been doing for several years. The government already buys our reports and only has to ask for more. Frankly, of all the challenges listing in the White Paper, this is the least of them.'


Outsourcing continues in specialist care

5 July 2012

Latest data on the mental health and specialist care sector show that despite elimination of most references to 'competition' in last spring's Health & Social  Care Bill, the principle remains firmly in place - and as such there is amply opportunity for independent care providers to continue to consolidate and increase their overall share of state-funded provision.

Publishing the latest edition of its Mental Health and Specialist Care Services UK Market Report, Laing & Buisson has stated that the value of outsourced provision grew by a further £1.1bn in 2011 taking the value of independent sector supply across mental health and other specialist services, including care homes for learning disabled and mentally ill people and children's care and specialist education, to £8.8bn in the financial year 2010/11.

For more details read our report product page here


Councils continue to pay short for elderly care

22June 2012

While the long term care sector awaits the government's delayed work on the reformation of funding for elderly care, care home operators face another tough year as the fees which councils pay to place an elderly person continue to fall short of the increases in operating costs.

The latest Annual Survey of UK Local Authority Baseline Fee Rates shows that since 2010/11 fees being paid by local authorities have fallen by a cumulative 4.8% in real terms.

Commenting on the results, Laing & Buisson operations director Justin Merritt said: "With the continued delay of word from the government on how to reform elderly care, it's hardly surprising that councils have been reluctant to budge on baseline fees. Initial promises were that the coalition would have something to say in the spring. We're now half way though June.'

The survey is published in the June issue of Community Care Market news and can be purchased as a standalone report.

For more details read our report product page here


NHS cuts back on temporary staffing

26 April 2012

Budget pressures for NHS services led to a clear cut in temporary staffing usage by NHS organisations in 2010/2011, according to Laing & Buisson's new NHS Financial Information 2012 data set.

For more details read our report product page here

 

Long list released for 2012 Laing's Healthcare 20

23 March 2012

After a year in parliament, coming under more scrutiny than any other bill in living memory, the Health & Social Care Bill is finally set to become law. And with this major restructuring of the ways in which healthcare will be provided across the UK comes a greater than ever need to know exactly who is at the top of the independent healthcare game.

It's against this backdrop that the Laing's Healthcare 20 returns.

In a marked evolution from the 2011 edition, the compilation of this year's report has begun with the release of a 'long list' of 45 organisations cherry picked from the sector by Laing & Buisson's expert team of consultants.

Having pulled out these names - it;s now over to you to vote for the top 20...

 

Have your say! Cast your vote for Laing's Healthcare 20

21 February 2012

Who are the brightest names in UK independent healthcare? Which organisations are leading the way in terms of innovation and management excellence? Laing's Healthcare 20 is the definitive list of most powerful organisations in the independent health and social care sector.

Laing & Buisson's expert consultants and report authors have drawn up the shortlist, now it's over to you to cast your vote for the top 20.

The results will be announced at the Independent Healthcare Awards gala dinner on 18 September 2012.

Independent Healthare Awards 2012 nominations open

14 February 2012

Nominations are now open for the Independent Healthcare Awards 2012.

The Awards recognise outstanding quality and innovation while rewarding the teams and individuals whose dedication and commitment helps make the UK independent healthcare sector truely world-class.

The categories include Healthcare Outcomes, Excellence in Training and Medical Practice as well as new categories which seek to recognise excellence in commissioning of health and care services.

The winners will be announced at a gala dinner to be held on 18 September 2012 at the London Marriott Hotel.


Hospitals competing for a static private healthcare pot

27 January 2012

Hospitals delivering private acute healthcare services must meet the challenges of a static market going forward following an absence of real spending growth in 2010. This is the conclusion of the analysis published by Laing & Buisson.

Laing's Healthcare Market Review 2011-12 claims that revenues generated by independent hospitals providing medical treatments in the UK remained unchanged in real terms over the year at £3.84bn. This year of stasis follows a period of 'fair' growth during the economic downturn, suggesting that the sector could now have to brace itself for a further period of economic sloth, and the fallout of public spending austerity.

Launching the report, author Philip Blackburn said: There are certainly near term challenges for service providers of private acute healthcare under current market conditions, but also opportunities in the longer term. Delivery efficiencies from providers are being solicited, not least from medical insurers which are seeking savings to pass on to their customers, and the recent OFT report which found evidence of potential competition limiters in the provision of private healthcare by hospitals and consultants.'

Laing's Healthcare Market Review 2011-12 is available to purchase now.

Children's Minister to address conference on Looked After Children

17 January 2012

As the dust begins to settle on the biggest transformation of special education in over 30 years, the government is poised to embark on far-reaching reform of the way looked after children are cared for in England and Wales.

Laing & Buisson’s conference, Looked After Children Matter: Delivering Excellent Services for Children explores the role private and voluntary sector providers can play in helping the government deliver its vision and shape the services of the future.

We are delighted to confirm that Children’s Minister Tim Loughton will open the conference with an overview of the government’s agenda.

With the number of children in care at a 24-year high, adoption rates falling and local authorities under increasing financial pressure, this unique event will provide unique insights for commissioners, regulators and providers interested in the provision of these services.

Can private investment help bridge the funding gap? What are the opportunities for forward-thinking organisations to work in partnership with local authorities? And will new markets emerge for providers of children’s residential care, specialist education, fostering and adoption services?

Experts in commissioning, regulation and family law will be joined by some of the top providers in their fields, giving delegates access to the broadest possible range of views on the future of the market, as well as providing excellent networking opportunities.

Full conference details

Demand for care beds rises, while 'private payers' become majority

5 January 2012

As the country awaits word from the government on how it intends to revamp the way in which adult social care is funded, latest research from Laing & Buisson has found that despite public policy which favours non-residential solutions to support the needs of the country's ageing population, efforts to divert demand away from care homes appear to be running out of steam.

After a year which saw much heated debate on how to shape the future of elderly care, as well as the high profile collapse of Southern Cross, the 2011/12 edition of Care of Elderly People UK Market Survey reports that the number of elderly or physically disabled people living in care homes in the UK rose to 421,000 - growth of 6,500 since 2010.

Reflecting gradual decline in the number of people who qualify for state support, the funding profile of England's care home population continued to move towards private payers in 2011.

Some 159,000 residents are now fully responsible for their care fees - 41% of the country's care home population. However, if the number of residents who pay 'top up' fees are taken into account, 55% of residents now pay something towards their care costs.

With the White Paper on adult social care funding expected in the spring, Laing & Buisson's report warns that in addition to the government reaction to the Dilnot report, Fairer Care Funding, and a response to the Department of Health's recent Oversight of the Social Care Market discussion paper, focus should be directed towards the impact of Direct Payments and personal budgets.

Commenting on this, author William Laing said: 'Widespread take-up of these new funding mechanism could radically change the nature of homecare and home help services in Britain though it would probably require a parallel expansion in advice and brokerage services to enable people with care needs to use their purchasing power effectively. While the potential exists for fundamental change in the social care market, the elephant in the room is that transformation and personalisation has to take place at a time of intense pressure on council budgets. And truly personalised services are likely to be more expensive rather than less expensive.'

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Healthcare to migrate from hospitals to the community

22 November 2011

Britain is on the cusp of a significant migration of NHS secondary healthcare services which will head out of acute hospitals and into more dispersed community-based settings, according to the latest research from Laing & Buisson.

Arguing that the move will bring about benefits to both patients and taxpayers in terms of more convenient, more responsible and more effective healthcare services Primary Care and Out of Hospital Services UK Market Report 2011/12 claims that the underlying driver of the move is the country's ageing population allied with a long standing shift in the burden of healthcare to chronic conditions of old age.

Since the NHS cannot currently afford to invest in major new asset classes, the report argues, services in a variety of specialist and niche areas - such as primary medical care, occupational health, community health, prison healthcare and commissioning support - will largely have to relocate into facilities which already exist. These sites will include community health assets encompassing community hospitals and clinics, GP surgeries, care homes, people's own homes and indeed back into freed up space on NHS acute hospitals sites, though under different management and ownership arrangements.

Commenting on the new report, Laing & Buisson's chief executive - and author of the report - William Laing said: 'Nearly all the potential migration of services out of hospitals will depend on politicians being willing to support the decommissioning of at least a portion of acute NHS hospital capacity currently used to care for mainly older people admitted as emergencies to medical wards, most of whom do not actually need to be in hospital. Without closure, partial closure or re-use of some NHS acute hospital capacity, none of the theoretical savings from the creation of alternative community based healthcare services will be 'cashable' .'

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Laing's Directory of Long Term Care Providers - sets out massive shake up

2 November 2011

In the biggest shake up of the country's long term care sector for well over a decade, the reassignment of care facilities formerly run by Southern Cross Healthcare has led to considerable changes among independent companies working in care.

These changes, and many more, are now reflected in the latest edition of Laing & Buisson's Directory of Major Long Term Care Providers, making it the most up to date listing of long term care available.

Based upon the company's most recent survey of companies with three or more homes and a comprehensive investigation into the transfers of Southern Cross homes to alternative providers, the directory offers users the best picture of corporate care holdings across the UK. Produced in association with monthly social care newsletter Community Care Market News, this 2011 edition include a top 20 of providers working in both the older people and disabled care sector and those operating in the learning disability and mentally ill sector. The directory includes summaries of all providers and a breakdown of their portfolios in terms of homes/beds owned and managed.

Commenting on the directory, Laing & Buisson's creative director Justin Merritt said: 'The Southern Cross scramble has seen a considerable reshaping of the UK's long term care league with a number of providers shooting up the table. We'll all be watching closely to see how new operator HC-One does in this changed environment and indeed how operators look to build their portfolios in light of the experiences seen at Southern Cross.'

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Personalistion agenda posing a threat to council homecare spend - new report out now

17 August 2011

The pattern of year-on-year increases in the volume of homecare hours purchased by local authorities has come to an end, with the latest analysis by Laing & Buisson showing that after a 15 year run of growth, spending in 2009/10 was down 8% over the previous 12 month period.

However, rather than marking a shift away from central government policy promoting home-based support, the latest Domiciliary Care UK Market Report argues that this change can be attributed in the main part to the personalisation agenda, which is seeing an increasing number of social services clients given the funds to purchase their own care services.

The report warns that a further response to this agenda has seen local authorities evolving their commissioning practices so that after many years of consolidating purchasing into bulk contracts they are now spot-purchasing against framework agreements.

In March 2010, 132,000 people were in receipt of personal budgets and/or direct payments, of which 48% were young disabled adults, 12% were older people aged under 75 and 40% were aged over 75 years. However, Laing & Buisson's research indicates that not all older people are willing recipients with some signing up to these new schemes as it is the only way to continue receiving care from their familiar carer.

Elsewhere, the report says that the private pay market will continue to grow as people live longer and find that they do not qualify under tighter social services eligibility criteria. The fastest growing area of the market, however, is that of NHS homecare with hospital discharge and admission-avoidance schemes fuelling much of this expansion.

Commenting on this, report author Philip Mickelborough said: 'The objectives of the NHS are clear - these schemes are designed to avoid the need to admit a client into hospital, to discharge them from hospital quickly or to avoid them going into a care home when discharged. One commissioner reported that its hospital discharge scheme had resulted in 70% of those initially deemed by doctors to need residential care being able to avoid it and stay in their own homes.'

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Optimism is keeping the children's daycare sector alive - new report out now

10 August 2011

The UK children's day nursery market has kept 'ticking along' post-recession as market size increased marginally by 1% in real terms to be worth £1.4bn, according to the latest edition of Laing & Buisson's Children's Nurseries UK Market Report 2011.

Report author Philip Blackburn argues that there is some cause for positivity as the market held firm in the past year, following a minor contraction in size during the economic downturn in 2008 and 2009. And moreover, operators surveyed for the publication had a more optimistic outlook with 39% expecting business conditions to improve within the next year.

Mr Blackburn said: 'The children's nurseries market looks to be in fair shape post-recession and the Coalition government has committed to many of Labour's spending pledges for early years, most notably extension of subsidised places for 2, 3 and 4 year olds.'

An estimated 300 nursery groups (those with three or more facilities) accounted for 21% of total UK day nursery places in 2010. The top 20 groups account for the bulk of corporate market share, at around 10% of total nursery places.

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CCMN's Annual Survey of Baseline Fees - out now

15 July 2011

Care home operators face yet another tough year thanks to local authorities again failing to match the increasing costs of providing a placement for an elderly resident in the fees which they will pay to place elderly people in beds in residential and nursing homes according to the latest edition of Community Care Market News’ Annual Survey of UK Local Authority Baseline Fee Rates.

The bleak discovery has led to concerns that in the wake of the collapse of the UK’s largest independent care home provider Southern Cross Healthcare, more operators of residential care homes for the elderly could be forced into administration thanks to ever-tightening margins.

The survey shows that the majority of local authorities across England have frozen, or reduced, the amount that they pay for care home placements. Although providers with facilities in Wales and Scotland have fared slightly better with some authorities boosting the amount they pay, this move has resulted in an average UK fee uplift for 2011/12 of just 0.3%.

Taking current levels of inflation into account, care home operators across the UK will now face an average 2.5% reduction in their margins on local authority funded residents during financial year 2011/2012. This is a dramatic step up from the 1.4% real terms cut calculated for the previous year and, if councils continue as expected, could pave the wave to similar or even greater cuts in the April 2012 fees.

Community Care Market News’ Annual Survey of UK Local Authority Baseline Fee Rates 2011/12 is available now priced at £80 for a hard copy, PDF and Excel file.

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Dangers in Dilnot for independent sector care providers

4 July 2011

The UK's leading healthcare intelligence provider Laing & Buisson has given a cautious welcome to the proposals as laid out in today's adult social care funding commission published by Andrew Dilnot.

Laing & Buisson chief executive William Laing said:

'The Dilnot report, Fairer Care Funding, presents an extremely well crafted set of proposals, which have every promise of finally resolving more than a decade of debate on the funding of long term care in England.

But there are dangers in Dilnot for independent sector providers of care homes.

Dilnot’s key proposals (*see footnote) will mean that large numbers of care home residents who are presently private payers will be drawn within the ambit of local authority payment.

Depending on how the proposals were implemented, a significant proportion of the premium fee rates which are presently needed to cross subsidise inadequate local authority fee rates may gravitate towards the latter.

According to Laing & Buisson market reports, approximately 40% of independent sector care home residents are currently private payers. Laing & Buisson’s initial estimate is that the proportion may fall to about 30-35% if the Dilnot proposals are implemented.

These concerns should not stand in the way of implementation of the Dilnot proposals, but it will be necessary carefully to consider the mechanisms for implementation in order to avoid further destabilising the independent sector at a time when it is under severe financial pressure.'

(*Dilnot’s key proposals are that the asset threshold should increase from £23,500 to £100,000 in England, and that there should be a cap of £35,000 on lifetime care costs for each individual.)


Learning disability care under threat - two free reports from Laing & Buisson

26 May 2011

Financial pressures on local authority budgets and an alarming shortage of suitable social housing stock are increasingly jeopardising the provision of support for adults with learning disabilities, according to the latest research from Laing & Buisson.

Commissioned by Anne Williams, National Director for Learning Disabilities at the Department of Health, in her role leading the (then) Valuing People Now team, the first report, Illustrative Cost Models in Learning Disabilities Social Care Provision, recognises the need to better understand the relative unit costs of different types of services and their accommodation/support components. With a view to informing debate about which approaches are most likely to be cost-effective, the report includes comprehensive illustrations and costings and comments on economies of scale. Whilst commissioned by the Department of Health, the report does not necessarily represent the Department’s views.

The second report, Cost and Cost-Effectiveness Issues in Learning Disabilities Social Care Provision, steps away from the DH remit to include provider opinion and Laing & Buisson’s own analysis. It offers complementary views and suggestions on improving spending habits as well as tackling the broader cost issues facing the sector. As a springboard for further discussion, the report focuses on ways which to achieve further cost savings; how to address the current housing challenge in terms of financing and funding; improving outcomes and further development of costing and entitlement models.

For further details please visit the Laing & Buisson Media Centre to read the full press release.

Report author David Roe will also present his reports to delegates at Laing & Buisson’s 2011 Annual Supported Living Conference, being held in central London on 22 June.