With £20bn a year in real terms by 2023/4 pledged to NHS England, the social care sector now awaits a similar windfall, but additional funding is not the panacea many would like to think.
And while social care leaders await the now long overdue green paper, Care Home Groups across the UK are facing an increasingly difficult challenge as they strive to keep individual care homes operating profitably and safely.
More than 400 care home businesses have collapsed this decade – 74 in 2015, 75 in 2016 – it is a trend that shows little sign of slowing.
But the widely reported lack of funding from local authorities as well as rising overheads is only part of the issue, millions continue to be wasted, on waste.
Savings of 45% for individual care homes, against current waste management costs, could easily be achieved by the majority of Care Home Groups willing to work collaboratively and adopt new, more efficient working practices.
Anenta’s current activity and review of waste management practices at Care Home Groups across the UK has highlighted that the majority of individual care homes have outdated contracts in place. These are normally subject to annual price increases and more often than not are incorrectly specified.
This means that the majority of Care Home Groups are paying for waste management services which are either not fit for purpose financially, or do not deliver the specific services care homes require, adding further strain to an already stressed system.
By working collaboratively, instead of procuring services for individual homes, Care Home Groups could also leverage the total volume of waste produced which would enable costs to be reduced further still.
Investment in social care is critical, that is without doubt. But whatever proposals and promises of funding result in the coming months, Care Home Groups will benefit significantly by implementing real change in operating practice.
Now is the time for group managers to be developing the appropriate waste management documentation, driving behavioural change in staff and creating new long-term strategies, working with waste management contract partners to ensure services are procured effectively, specified accurately and delivered efficiently.