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Essex County Council - Provider Hub
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Market Context

Older people nursing care is a service that supports an adult who requires short or long term nursing care in a Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered nursing care home. The type of services that can be provided in a registered nursing care home are: 

  • Short- or long-term nursing care.
  • Short- or long-term specialist care, i.e. dementia, complex behaviours.

Essex County Council have several different contracts with our providers in Essex. Our core contract is the Integrated Residential and Nursing Care Framework known as the IRN Framework. Essex County Council will work with our IRN Framework providers to block purchase beds when required to support specific capacity and demand needs for Adult Social Care.

Market Rating

The current overall Market Quality is good. There is a need to increase the number of nursing care homes across Essex, including increasing the capacity of the nursing workforce within care homes.

Market Quality Market Supply ECC Demand
Good Low Stable/High
ECC Ambition Market Workforce Market Maturity
Increase Supply Low/Moderate Mature

ECC rating of the market, assessed on the 31st March 2024.

Nursing placements are and have always been relatively hard to source within Essex. There is an expected increase in demand for nursing placements in alignment with our strategic direction to keep adults at home with their families in their community for as long as possible. Adults that do require a nursing care home placement are likely to have more complex needs, including dementia care, and require a shorter term placement.

  • Since COVID there has been a 9% reduction in ECC funded care home placements in older people residential and nursing care homes.
  • 60 residential and nursing care homes have less than 80% occupancy.
  • ECC has committed to review placement prices on an annual basis. Please see the Older People Residential and Nursing uplift page
Essex Market  
No. Homes 42
No. Beds 7,347
% Homes CQC rated Good or Outstanding 79%
Total occupied Beds (including ECC funded) 6,434
Occupancy % 88%
Occupancy % for ECC Funded Adults 37%
Market Entrants since 1st April 2023 0
Market Exits since 1st April 2023 2

(Note: The above data set covers both Older People Residential and Nursing care.  The market has been segmented based on the main specialism supported by the home)

Essex Adult Social Care Market (ECC Funded)  
Spend £38 Million
No. Contracted Homes 155
% Contracted Homes CQC rated Good or Outstanding 70%
No. Adults funded by ECC receiving residential care 718
% ECC funded residential care placements CQC rated Good or Outstanding 75%
Contract Utilisation % 40%
Average Length of Stay (Years) 1 Year 9 Months
Essex Adult Social Care Market - Sourcing  
Average Contracted Rates per week £893.99
Average Spot Rate per week £1,287.25
Contract Placements per month 28
Spot Placements per month 36
% Admissions into residential care CQC rated Good or Outstanding 75%
Average placements ended per month  Awaiting data

The information shown in the table(s) above is correct as of 31st March 2024.

Information in the above table for sourcing is based on activity between 1st April 2023 and 31st March 2024.

The appropriate discussions with the NHS have started regarding the different options and approaches needed to tackle the lack of provision of nursing care workers. However further investigation is required to ascertain the number of future placements, homes and beds required to meet today’s need and our future project of needs. There is an assumption that this needs to be a two-pronged approach with the NHS to improve this market.

There is also a need to investigate other complex provision such as end of life, CHC, complex behaviours and dementia to ensure we secure the right provision to provide the best outcomes for our adults alongside the NHS.

Work is also required to support providers that could offer dual services (residential and nursing). There is currently some CQC restrictions that make it harder for providers to provide nursing care, i.e. unable to share nurses across homes which need investigating further.

Our ambition is that all our placements in nursing care are in good or outstanding CQC rated provision.

There is no specific evidence to show that nursing placements have been impacted like our residential market, however it is expected that they have the same carer workforce pressures to the residential providers.

Current market risks:

There are several risks that will need to be managed over the next 18 months. These include:

  • Health may increase pressure for nursing placements from hospital driving up longer term costs for Adult Social Care. Particularly if they are on a CHC pathway and then re-assessed into Non CHC pathways.
  • ECC implemented a 20% increase to nursing rates in April 2023 and we are now paying closer to / at  Cost of Care Rates for nursing care. Please see the Older People Residential and Nursing uplift page

Our current area of focus is:

  • The current IRN Framework expires in 2025, we are currently reviewing our approach to IRN Framework provision from April 2025.
  • A review of nursing provision is required to ascertain if there are any opportunities to shape our residential market to provide support.
  • A nursing workforce, training and retention scheme is critical to increase capacity in Essex.
  • Review of complex needs or pathways to ensure the service is appropriate, is funded correctly and has the best outcome for the adult and their family.
  • Continue to improve the quality of outcomes for adults in this cohort.
Last updated: 31/03/2024