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Care Homes - Djanogly Questions Milburn about New Standards Act

29th August 2002

Jonathan Djanogly met with the owners of Ford House in St Neots, Tony and Katie Burns, last Friday to discuss the implications of the new Care Standards Act on residential and nursing care homes.

Jonathan Djanogly, Member of Parliament for Huntingdon, met with the owners of Ford House in St Neots, Tony and Katie Burns, last Friday to discuss the implications of the new Care Standards Act on residential and nursing care homes, such as Ford House.

It is anticipated that the Care Standards Act 2000 will have a significant impact on the provision of nursing care and may lead to care homes closing as a result. Mr Djanogly has written to the Secretary of State for Health to highlight a number of key concerns.

  • 16 - 18 year olds cannot undertake personal care tasks for the elderly, supposedly in order to preserve their dignity. Whilst everyone would agree it is important to maintain a person's dignity, there are a number of responsible young under eighteen year olds who would be able to perform this task with the utmost care, and want to work in care homes to gain some experience before embarking on nursing training.

Furthermore, the new regulations expose some inconsistencies between the standards set for care homes and those of the NHS. This is because nurses can begin their training at 17, and would be reasonably expected to be performing personal care tasks in hospitals during their first year of study. Therefore, you could end up with a situation that a 17 year old applies for a job as a care assistant at a nursing home and is unable to perform personal care tasks for the elderly, but the same 17 year old could begin his or her nursing training and undertake personal care tasks on a ward for the elderly.

  • Care homes must undertake a number of structural changes to their buildings, including minimum door widths, and introducing shaft lifts. These could cost care homes such as Ford House in the region on £40,000, and may result in the number of beds being reduced in some care homes, as space is lost to meet the new requirements.
  • As the numbers of care home beds decreases, so the problem of 'hospital bed-blocking' will increase.

Mr Djanogly said:

"The Government has simply not thought through the implications of this new round of regulations for care homes. We should be bringing in measures to attract new businesses into this sector, and to encourage young people to work in care homes. Some 12,600 care homes beds were lost between 2000 and 2001 alone, which equates to 250 a week, and care homes are going out of business on a weekly basis across the country - this new legislation is going to mkae things worse not better. I shall be writing to the Secretary of State advising him to think again on this important issue."

Mr Tony Burns, Joint Proprietor of Ford House said:

"The Act is currently a major concern to care home owners nationwide and has a number of major implications. We are delighted Mr Djanogly is pressing the Secretary of State on some of these issues."

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