16 Nov 2023
by Adrian Houghton

A new report released by the Homecare Association has found that an extra £2.08 billion per year across the UK is required to ensure that homecare workers can receive a fair wage, while enabling services to be of good quality and financially sustainable.

This is based on Freedom of Information enquiries submitted to 276 public organisations in the UK about fees paid to independent and voluntary sector providers to deliver homecare services. These organisations included local authorities; Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) in England; Local Health Boards in Wales; Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts in Northern Ireland; and regional NHS Boards in Scotland.

The breakdown of the £2.08 billion figure for each nation is as follows:

  • £1.62 billion per year for England
  • £105.5 million per year for Wales
  • £244.2 million per year for Scotland.
  • £117.7 million per year for Northern Ireland.

Average hourly fee rates for homecare, weighted for the volume of hours purchased by state commissioners, were:

  • £21.59 in England (with a split of £21.60 for councils and £21.56 for health bodies);
  • £23.98 in Wales (with a split of £24.20 for councils and £21.27 for health bodies);
  • £21.43 in Scotland; and
  • £18.63 in Northern Ireland.

Only 5% of UK public organisations paid the Minimum Price for Homecare calculated by the Homecare Association. This minimum is based on a careworker receiving the National Living Wage in England, and real Living Wage in the devolved administrations. None of the Local Health Boards in Wales, councils in Scotland, or HSC Trusts in Northern Ireland met the Homecare Association’s Minimum Price.

Even worse, 18 public organisations paid average hourly rates lower than the amount required to cover careworker direct costs alone. These vary by nation, but comprise the wage specified above, plus other employment on-costs. A third of these organisations were based in the Greater London government region. This leaves nothing extra to cover other operating costs, and risks non-compliance with employment and care regulations; poor experience for those receiving and giving care; and provider insolvency.

As a result, the Homecare Association urges the Government to invest in homecare to improve quality of life; extend life expectancy; reduce inequalities; alleviate the burden on the NHS; and decrease healthcare costs.

You can read the full Homecare Deficit 2023 report below.