THE cost of homecare in Jersey could rise to almost £40 per hour by the start of next year, which the Jersey Care Federation said demonstrated the ‘seriousness of the issue’.
The federation has published its projected local figures on the back of new rates for England that have been calculated by the Homecare Association and come into effect this week.
Those paying for homecare in England should expect minimum hourly pricing of £25.95, the Homecare Association has predicted, while it has also produced a ‘competitive labour market’ figure of £31.56 per hour.
The figures include carer wages, inflation, the price of fuel, and rising rents, rates and utilities, as well as National Insurance, holiday pay, mileage and business costs.
Jersey Care Federation chair Cheryl Kenealy said Island care providers currently paid around a third more in staff wages than the UK and also had to contend with a much higher cost of living in terms of basics such as rent, food and other services.
These factors, she added, had led to their estimate that the price of care delivered in Islanders’ homes would reach £39.80 per hour by January 2024, compared to an average of between £30 and £35 now.
The actual price for Jersey by the start of next year will depend on the government’s figure for Long Term Care, which will be published later this year.
Ms Kenealy said: ‘We have been highlighting the spiralling price of homecare for some time now, and while it comes as no surprise, we do hope that these new figures demonstrate the seriousness of the issue.
‘While many factors driving up costs are not within our control, there are several measures which would ease the situation, in particular providing support for overseas recruitment, which is something the UK and many other governments are now providing in the form of grants to their private care sectors, but here the government isn’t paying a penny.
‘We would also like to see investment in tools, facilities and processes, for example a collaborative Island-wide procurement strategy for things like PPE, which would allow the care providers to keep their costs lower.’
The federation will soon be producing separate figures for the price of care in care homes. The rate of inflation reached a peak of 12.8% in the first quarter of this year, but is expected to remain ‘elevated’ through next year, according to the most recent predictions from the Fiscal Policy Panel – averaging 9.9% for 2023.