A “DOUBLE whammy” of rock bottom fees and soaring costs will inevitably lead to more care home closures across North Wales, it’s been warned.

Care homes in the region are struggling with increases of up to 100 per cent for utilities and insurance, along with hikes of more than 20 per cent for things like food and incontinence products.

At the same time, the fees providers receive in North Wales can be up to £10,000 a year less per person than those given to their counterparts in South Wales for providing exactly the same level of care.

It’s been revealed that four care homes in North Wales - Trewythen Hall in Gresford, Bay Court in Kinmel Bay, Gwastad Hall in Cefn y Bedd and Morfa Newydd in Greenfield - have already had to shut with the loss of more than 160 beds, piling even more pressure on the beleaguered social care system and the NHS.


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According to Care Forum Wales (CFW), the situation is one of grave concern, with many care homes teetering on the brink of financial ruin.

CFW chief executive Mary Wimbury said she expected the situation to get worse before it gets better.

She says local authority fees do not cover basic requirements or come close to meeting the actual costs of providing care.

Ms Wimbury said: "People are struggling, they've been through a really difficult few years because of the pandemic and now on top of that, high inflation, staff wages increasing, cost of food, heating, insurance."

Helena Herklots, the Older Person’s Commissioner for Wales, is among those worried about the deepening crisis in the social care sector.

Speaking to the BBC, she said: “We are hearing about closures of care homes but also concerns about whether the care home their loved ones are in was going to close in the future.

"It's creating uncertainty and anxiety among older people, family and their friends and they're also dealing with the cost of living crisis."

Among those on the front line is Ceri Roberts, a director of Cariad Care Homes in Gwynedd.

Cariad run two homes – Bodawen in Porthmadog and Plas Gwyn in Criccieth – where they employ 130 to look after 76 residents.

She said: “I’ve been managing care homes since 2005 and year on year, it gets tougher.

“Our food costs have gone up by 22 per cent in the last 12 months and there’s been a 21 per cent increase in the price of incontinence products.

“At the same time, utilities have gone up 100 per cent. Those three items are the bulk of our costs other than payroll.

“We have been paying our staff the Real Living Wage for almost two years and we did that voluntarily. We just felt that the work the staff do is exceptional. It’s a tough job.

“It’s physically and emotionally a very difficult job. We’re very grateful for the team that we have and they deserve to be rewarded for the work that they do.

“Year on year, it’s a battle. Every year, we receive a letter from both health board and the local authority saying ‘this is what we’re going to be paying you this year’.

“We are now in consultation with the local authority because we will not be viable with the fees they are willing to pay.

“The Real Living Wage has gone up by just over 10 per cent and the increase from the local authority is only 3.5 per cent, so how do you make things balance?

“I would anticipate that more care homes will close if things don’t change. It’s inevitable.”