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&#39Rising nursing fees will cancel out free Govt aid&#39

Rising nursing home fees will offset free nursing care paid by the Government, leaving pensioners no better off in terms of long-term care costs, claim providers.

Following a warning from the Residential Nursing Homes Association last week that fees may rise by at least £70 a week, providers say consumers will lose any benefit they may have gained from Government provision of free nursing care.

For most people, this will mean there will be no effect on insurance premiums although advisers say IFAs need to revisit their client bank.

The National Pensioners Convention entered the debate last week, saying there is a vicious circle, with care homes, local government and central government blaming each other for the rising costs. It reiterated its calls for free personal care for all.

The RNHA, the trade body representing care homes, is outraged at the Government&#39s accusations that its members are taking advantage of free nursing care by increasing fees. It says many homes cannot even cover their costs and so fees must rise.

It says costs are at least £420 a week per patient while homes get an average of between £340 and £350 a week from the

Government and unless it contributes more, fees would have to jump by at least £70 a week.

Chief executive Frank Ursell says: “We are not asking for anything ridiculous but there is evidence that the true cost of providing nursing care round the clock is at least £420 a week.”

Care Funding Bureau marketing manager David Marlow says: “Advisers need to revisit their client bank to see whether they need to reassess insurance coverage.”

Norwich Union LTC strategy manager Sandy Johnstone says: “This news from care homes means advisers should be able to tell clients they do not need to adjust their level of coverage.”

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