Fury as leading care provider chain puts up fees for elderly residents
Fury as leading care provider chain puts up fees for elderly residents by thousands to pay for increased costs
- Barchester Healthcare told relatives they will face extra costs to pay for rent
- Families who have hardly see their loved ones have been asked to pay to visit
- Comes after pay of chief executive Dr Pete Calveley more than doubled in 2019
Outraged families have said they are ‘disgusted’ after one of Britain’s biggest care providers increased its fees by thousands of pounds per year.
Barchester Healthcare told relatives already crippled by high fees they will face extra costs to pay for higher staff wages, utility bills and rent.
Families who have hardly seen their loved ones over the past year have even been asked to pay for visiting rooms where they can often only look at their relatives through a sheet of Perspex.
The rise in fees comes weeks after the Daily Mail revealed that the pay of chief executive Dr Pete Calveley more than doubled to an astonishing £2.02million in 2019. In the same year, the firm made a profit after tax of £16million.
Last night, campaigners branded the 6 per cent fee increase at a time when many relatives are also struggling with the impact of the pandemic ‘absolutely disgraceful’.
Dr Pete Calveley is CEO of Barchester Healthcare. The company told relatives already crippled by high fees they will face extra costs to pay for higher staff wages, utility bills and rent
One relative, who wished to remain anonymous, said she fears she will have to move her father, who suffers with dementia, to another home as they will not be able to afford the increases. The cost of his care in the Bristol home is going up by more than £4,000, bringing the total to around £80,000 a year.
‘I feel so distraught and angry because we’ll have to move him because of these increases and he’s settled,’ she said. ‘The level of stress on top of not being able to care for him and visit last year is almost unbearable.’
It is more than a year since the Mail delivered a petition to Downing Street calling on the Prime Minister to honour his pledge to fix the broken care system, which forces countless pensioners to sell their homes to fund crippling care costs.
Another relative said the fees for her mother’s care at a Barchester home in Hertfordshire are rising by more than £100 per week to bring the annual bill to almost £90,000.
‘I don’t understand where this money is going,’ she said. ‘I’m furious.’ Another relative said the rise was ‘borderline immoral and disgusting’. Letters sent by Barchester to relatives set out the same reasons for the increase in fees. These include ‘cost pressures in relation to gas, electric and water’, landlords increasing rent and refurbishment of the homes.
Barchester also cited an increase in the National Living Wage, and the costs incurred by deciding to pay staff above the minimum wage and to ‘amend’ holiday pay. Other reasons given included PPE costs, to pay staff to test, installing Covid-safe visiting rooms and a 300 per cent increase in insurance costs.
Dr Calveley (pictured with his Outstanding Contribution to Care aware in 2018), 60, who joined Barchester in 2014, lives in a £1.2million home in Northamptonshire
The Government has arranged for social care providers to be given free PPE until June this year and set aside £149million in December to help homes pay for extra testing.
Diane Mayhew, co-founder of campaign group Rights for Residents, said the fee increases are ‘an insult’. She added: ‘This company is well aware of the risks of moving residents – even more so in the midst of a pandemic – and relatives feel they’re left with no option but to pay these extortionate fees.
‘The CEO and senior management team rightly feel that hard working staff should be rewarded, but it would be more fitting to reduce their own obscene salaries to cover these increases.’
Dr Calveley, 60, who joined Barchester in 2014, lives in a £1.2million home in Northamptonshire.
A Barchester spokesman said: ‘Our most recent resident contract outlines an annual uplift of 5.9 per cent, which is less than the increase in our cost base.
‘Needless to say there are always cost pressures, and this year more than most, and we have been grateful for the Government support towards this, but it has by no means covered our overall cost increases.’
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