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12th September 2014

The Very Expensive Cost of Running a Quality Service

the very expensiveThese days I seem to have taken on the persona of Victor Meldrew. I catch myself moaning and despite my best endeavours, I can’t stop.

This week my main bugbear is admin. Admin admin admin. It’s constant. Every time we see the council they give us additional work, and we have to recruit for another body for our admin department. Our admin department is larger than the care Coordination team!

Back in the good old days I would pick up the phone have a conversation with a client, deal with whatever their query and hang up. Now though, to have that same conversation, the endless recording is incredibly time consuming. I understand there is a requirement to document information. But everything? Really? Is that even sustainable?

Good clear records

With a matter as serious as a safeguarding referral, I know that good clear records are absolutely critical. What I don’t understand is the duplication of forms. For example, when our office staff are informed of a disclosure which requires them to generate a safeguarding referral, they complete a form including as much detail as they can from that initial disclosure. A second form is sent by the Local Authority, which we are required to complete and return. A third form has to be completed for the Local Authority to notify them of a Serious Incident. (Even though you would think their first form is sufficient?) A fourth form has to be completed to notify the CQC……It’s crazy!

Homecare providers are facing year-on-year increases in administration costs for a number of reasons. As the cuts in the local authority hit home, additional administration costs are incurred to ensure we are providing our contracts in compliance with the Local Authorities contract terms, CQC regulations and best practice.

Increase in costs

The costing model devised by UKHCA to calculate a Minimum price for Homecare (link) had estimated that 27% of the Provider’s Gross Margin covers the costs of running their business, which includes (as well as others) admin and quality assurance costs. It is a fact that Homecare has a high turnover of service users. It is the nature of the business. Short turnovers to our customer base increase the administration and assessment costs considerably.

Although most providers support a new model of service delivery and are more than willing to work in collaboration with Local Authorities and Commissioning groups, I believe recognition of the additional costs incurred in running a quality service must be recognised by commissioners.

Right. Moan over. Now why is the chocolate getting thinner on these digestives?

Rosie Robinson – QCS Expert Care Contributor

Sarah Riley

Senior Customer Care Executive

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