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'Don't leave independent care homes in the cold'

31st July 2006

A care home organisation has called on the government to treat independent care homes fairly when seeking primary care trust (PCT) commissioned work.

Following the publication of a report earlier this year from the Department of Health, the Registered Nursing Homes Association (RNHA) has urged health ministers not to push the independent sector out of nursing home provision.

The report, The Third Sector Commissioning Task Force, encourages PCTs to better use the skills and services available from voluntary and community sector organisations, but RNHA's chief executive Frank Ursell told that the recommendations should apply equally to the independent sector.

"What about independent sector organisations that provide the same types of services as voluntary bodies?" he asked. "Are they to be included within the new partnership arrangements, or left out in the cold?"

Mr Ursell continued that there should be a level playing field: "After all, whether they are run by a voluntary body or not, nursing homes are providing broadly the same type of care," he argued.

The task force was set up last year as part of the government's Choosing Health Action Plan, which is intended to address social exclusion and the health inequalities gap by developing services that "meet the needs and preferences" of communities.