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16 November 2018, 06:42
Care home operators are to issue a stern warning over what they describe as under-resourcing in the sector as they meet for a conference.
Donald Macaskill, chief executive of Scottish Care, will tell around 450 delegates the sector is fragile and a "real threat" exists to its sustainability.
He will call on politicians to "put down their party political megaphones" and talk about the funding of social care.
Dr Macaskill will set out the view of the representative body for the country's independent social care services when he delivers a speech at the National Care Home Conference in Glasgow on Friday.
Speaking as Scottish Care unveils a new report, he will highlight the "dramatic and unappreciated changes" which the care home sector has experienced over the last few years and reflect on the challenges it currently faces.
He will tell the gathering: "Unfortunately many of these challenges are growing and becoming a real threat to the continuance of a sector which is critical to keeping Scotland healthy and giving quality care to some of our most vulnerable citizens.
"I cannot remember a period of such real threat to the sustainability of the care home sector. Things are very fragile indeed.
"We cannot for long continue to under-resource the sector.
"The truth is that today care homes are effectively mini hospitals and hospices settled right into the heart of our communities - but we do not treat them like that, we do not resource or fund them like that, they are truly the Cinderella service of health and social care.
"When are we going to realise that we cannot continue to get care on the cheap...
"We are in danger of creating a bargain basement care home sector trying to deliver high quality care on the cheap."
Dr Macaskill will make his address as Scottish Care unveils a new report, entitled Care homes: Then, now and the uncertain future.
He will claim that nine out of 10 providers are struggling to recruit staff and call for an increase in social care funding from the Scottish Government of up to 8%.
"Yet again Scottish Care is calling on our politicians to put down their party political megaphones and start talking to one another, to providers, to citizens, about how we are going to fund social care," he will say.
A Scottish Government spokesman said the National Care Home Contract has seen year-on-year increases in the contract fee, amounting to 42% cumulatively.
He added: "Care homes have received unprecedented support, despite a challenging financial backdrop.
"We have integrated health and social care to ensure we can provide flexible, responsive, high quality services.
"Integration authorities are responsible for almost £9 billion of funding, receiving more than £550 million of additional investment this year.
"While a significant amount of work and investment has gone into supporting older or vulnerable people to live well in their own homes for longer, we recognise the role of the care home within the wider integrated health and social care system and we welcome this report."