Care providers are warning that homes risk closing if they don’t get help with energy bills, with some facing increases of more than 600% when they sign new contracts.
The National Care Association, which represents small and medium-sized care providers, said the impact of the energy crisis would be “devastating” on care homes, with some of their members predicting increases of ten times or more.
Dominic Poole, chief executive of Cheswardine Hall, a care home in Shropshire, said I he was facing a 600% increase in his electricity bill from November.
The care home has had a fixed-term contract for electricity for the past two years, costing around £20,000 a year, but is now quoted at around £125,000 a year, or £110,000 if it agrees to repair it for three years. .
If he accepts the new contract, he will have to add £100 a week to residents’ costs, Mr Poole added.
“Right now we feel a bit like at the start of the pandemic where we were blindly heading towards a crisis that we saw coming… As a service provider, what should we do? Should we fix for 12 months? Should we fix for 24? Should we wait three months until the last minute? Where are the guidance to say what we should do? ” he said.
Mr Poole highlighted the initiatives that have been introduced by the government during the pandemic, such as the care home capacity tracker and the PPE portal, and asked why more was not being done now to develop an energy plan for nursing homes.
“If care homes fold, and with these sorts of numbers they will… then the NHS falls, because a lot of people are moving from the NHS to a care home,” he said.
Care homes are not subject to Ofgem’s energy price cap, meaning suppliers have been feeling the pinch since energy prices started to rise last year.
Sam Westbrooks, deputy director of Balkerne Gardens Trust, which has two care homes in Colchester, said the company’s energy bills had risen from £34,000 in the first half of 2021 to £69,000 in the first half of this year, an increase of more than 100 percent.
“We are a not-for-profit organization and this impacts our ability to generate a surplus, which we will not be able to do…it is money that we cannot raise the salaries of our staff with” , did he declare.
Mike Padgham, chief executive of Saint Cecilia’s Care Group, which has four care homes in Scarborough, said the company spent £67,929 on petrol in 2021 and expected to spend £166,637 in 2022, an increase of £145 %. Its expenditure on electricity is expected to increase by 90%, from £132,154 in 2021 to £251,185 in 2022.
“I have been in the business for 33 years. This is the hardest part I have experienced in this area. It’s almost as difficult, if not more so, than Covid,” he said.
“There will be house closures. There will also be closures of businesses that provide care to people at home. »
Nadra Ahmed, executive chair of the National Care Association, said care facilities could not generate savings because all activities were essential, adding that “the resilience of care providers is completely eroded”.
“It is inconceivable that we have no plan to deal with the impending crisis from either the leadership candidate or the opposition. The sector must unite on behalf of those we care about – they are a silent majority, so we must be their voice and make sure they don’t become invisible,” she said.
Dr Donald Macaskill, CEO of Scottish Care, which represents care homes in Scotland, said increases in energy prices would “undoubtedly” lead to “the imminent closure of care homes”.
“We call for an urgent emergency response from all concerned governments. The care sector urgently needs help to get us through the next few weeks. If the social care sector collapses it will have a massive destabilizing effect on the NHS,” he said.
. homes care risk close reason surge bills