Home care workers are a vital part of elderly and terminally ill care across the country, as they provide dedicated care to those who may need some extra support around their home if they want to continue living there or for those who don’t have family living close by to help. As important as these people are to the community, there is a crisis affecting thousands of home care providers in the United Kingdom – unpaid invoices. Read more to find out how unpaid invoices are harming home care providers.
How are unpaid invoices harming care providers?
The cost of living crisis has affected us all – from household bills to the weekly shop, prices have seen a substantial increase across the board. Over a quarter of UK businesses are seeing late payments from their debtors, with worry increasing as more SME, manufacturing and construction companies are struggling to pay their suppliers. Home care businesses are in the same predicament, with debtors such as the NHS and councils refusing to pay them. A survey revealed that one in five providers feel that they are at risk of failing financially within the next 6 months. Some companies, including one with 60 care workers, have stopped working with the NHS and councils as they are notorious for withholding payment.
Home care providers struggle to hire employees. This, compounded by travel expenses for driving between client homes not being included in their paycheck, has resulted in a reduction in people applying for care roles. This has created a second crisis for the industry, but providers may have been unable to increase wages or provide expenses as they cannot afford to do so. Even with an increasingly ageing population with particular needs, there are around 152,000 care vacancies available in England.
Research conducted by the Institute of Health and Social Care Management (IHSCM) has uncovered that a staggering £679 million is still waiting to be paid out to home care providers – £567 million is owed by councils and local authorities, whilst £112 million is owed by the NHS. In 2020, the NHS was told that they needed to cut invoice payments to a week after receiving them.
The impact that unpaid invoices have on home care providers is significant, but it also affects the people that need the care – it is estimated that 430,000 people were placed on a waiting list for care and still haven’t received it. This can result in a decline in mental and physical health of the client. The NHS themselves experience the impact, with an estimated 12,000 people in England unable to be discharged from their hospital beds as they need a carer to support them when they get home.
Why is the care sector struggling?
Whilst there are some large home care companies, the industry is predominantly smaller companies. Big or small, home care providers don’t just spend money on the wages of their staff – they provide uniforms, scheduling, pay national insurance, mobile phones and sick pay. Although some of the funding they have may be adequate for these instances, there are times where things may go wrong – causing costly, unplanned payments.
The lack of funding is believed to have led to the clients suffering and dying – although the cause cannot be proven as poor care.
Advice from Beeston Shenton Solicitors
Unpaid invoices are the reason many businesses fail, particularly during tough economic times. Gaining payment from bigger debtors can be a struggle. If you need advice or would like further information on the topic discussed in this article, contact us today and our expert team will be happy to help. Alternatively, you can browse through our services to find out more about how we can help you.