The fees paid by local councils towards care homes for elderly people are "inadequate", a new report has found.
It has resulted in reduced choice for council-supported residents and "a virtual cessation of development of new care home capacity catering primarily for them", according to research commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
To meet a commitment of paying a fair market price for a "fully modernised care home sector", it estimated that the additional cost to the public sector would be around £540 million per year, based on current prices and levels of demand.
According to the author: "The study concludes that most public sector commissioning bodies do not at present pay fees at levels which are adequate to support and sustain a care home sector that meets all of the most recent National Minimum Standards."
Meanwhile, Barchester Healthcare has been in the news for playing a part in coming to the rescue of a choir which lost significant sums of money following the collapse of the airline Zoom.
Inverness Gaelic Choir, which lost all its money and flight tickets when the airline went under, will now be able to take part in the October Celtic Colours Festival in Canada after all.
Barchester has underwritten the purchase of new tickets, which will be repaid via fundraising, while various other organisations including the Highland council's Inverness city committee have also contributed to a fund which was set up to help the choir.
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