UK homecare sector continues to struggle

Date: 10th Dec 2018

A report published by think-tank The King’s Fund and York University: Home care in England: views from commissioners and providers has reinforced that the market for homecare providers is extremely fragile, with constantly squeezed margins and low fees forcing providers out.

Between 2016 and 2018, The King’s Fund carried out three pieces of research exploring the factors driving commissioning adult social care; the mechanisms of purchasing and delivery of home care; and alternatives to traditional models of delivering care at home. The report combines the findings of those research projects, which record the stated opinions of commissioners, providers and other stakeholders.

Report Summary  

Despite the many challenges facing providers, most councils commissioning home care attempted to drive down the fees they pay. Commissioners and providers disagreed about whether quality of home care had declined in recent years and, if it had, the role of fees in that process.

The report found little evidence of progress towards outcomes-based commissioning. Nor was there much evidence that health and care providers are joining up commissioning of home care.  

Many commissioners indicated that they were frustrated they couldn’t spend more time considering the longer-term outcomes of the care provided. However, attempts to move towards outcomes commissioning were often only at pilot stage. A key problem was the requirement to collect and monitor outcomes data, which some commissioners doubted providers had the infrastructure to implement.  

Focusing on outcomes-based commissioning has been part of health and social care policy for many years, but finding meaningful and workable ways of implementing this in practice is still challenging. CM helps Councils to work towards outcomes measurements by contributing ideas and solutions to their service re-design teams. We have undertaken extensive research to develop innovative technology solutions that support the outcomes agenda. Our Outcomes Assessment Platform delivers a powerful combination of time / attendance data and progress towards outcomes, which ensures the right care is delivered at the right time.  

"H.A.S. Technology are also at the forefront of helping commissioners with market management. PAMMS (Provider Assessment & Market Management Solutions) is supporting intelligent commissioning through a host of market shaping and risk mitigation tools which are proven to improve quality."

The social care market continues to be uncertain and problematic. With such severe market pressures, collecting and analysing real-time data on service delivery can be a key factor in maintaining quality of care. The potential that technology and data analytics can bring to raising the quality of social care provision is enormous.  

References: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/home-care-england

https://www.caremanagementmatters.co.uk/homecare-sector-struggling/

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