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Continuing Healthcare: are we listening to our care providers?
24 November 2020

One of the things that adam helps our customers with is listening to providers.

One of the things that adam helps our customers with is listening to providers. A good relationship and robust engagement with providers can not only inform Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) policy, but should also lead to improved operational results. We recently carried out research to help our customers better understand what their providers are saying.

Domiciliary Care Agencies
Most agencies reported a minimal change in capacity this year meaning they have been able to keep up with demand. However more than 50% of agencies are expecting a ‘significant increase’ in demand over the coming 12-24 months, and 77% are concerned that staffing issues will prevent them from meeting this need.

Encouragingly most agencies we spoke to have been very happy with support received from Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) this year. When asked what additional support could be provided, the typical feedback was support with clinical training would be beneficial. With more people joining and quickly leaving the market, staff retention is lower than previous years and this is creating additional training work for agencies.

Care Homes
Whilst care homes have of course been significantly impacted by Covid, on average the capacity within care homes has been relatively stable. Occupancy rates may have fallen but often that has been accompanied by a reduction in staff numbers or a reduced capacity due to Covid protocols.

Care Homes are also reporting good levels of communication from the NHS and CCGs specifically. Interestingly whilst they face significant challenges, 76% are not planning any changes to their business model in the next 12-24 months. This is a vastly different picture to the home care market where 67% of agencies are actively changing their business model. The viability of providers has been a long-running concern, but care homes are relying upon increases in funding in the future.

When asked about their main challenges, 56% cite increasing complexity of needs and 44% cite rates paid by CCGs. While not always the primary issue, almost all care homes believe rates are too low, particularly for long term placements where annual staffing costs may rise by 4-6% against 0-1% increase in fees. Many providers reported the need to regularly increase prices on new placements to offset increasing costs for fixed-price long term residents. It is certainly important for CCGs to consider the outcome of annual fee reviews against the impact on the cost of new placements.

Summary
Our experience this year has been that providers have reacted very well to the strain placed on them, while they have prices relatively constant and have accepted patients much more quickly than ever before. adam’s CCG customers are still making placements in 2-4 days on average, due to the hard work of all involved.

It’s important to keep communication going with our providers, as ultimately the state of the provider market dictates the commissioning outcomes for CCGs and patients alike.

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