Thank you, Llywydd. Trefnydd, last Friday, I had the pleasure of visiting three care homes in north-west Wales. My experience confirmed what I stated here in the Senedd last month—that we are heading towards a very serious care home crisis. What I saw was care providers doing their very best to ensure that they provide high-quality care. However, they are having to do this whilst fighting to stay afloat, because of unfair funding from local authorities, and especially the north Wales health board. This brings me to the shocking facts that I want you all to be aware of.
On 26 June 2019, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board issued an e-mail to care providers, stating that they have just now approved the continuing healthcare fees for 2018-19. What this means in reality is that care homes are receiving patients from hospitals, and they only found out last week what they will be paid for care provided from 1 April. We are now in July. So, in one instance, this meant that a home did not know how much money they're being paid in relation to what is around 50 per cent of their clients. It is impossible to properly manage a business—and that's what care home providers are doing: they are running a very vital, much needed business as well—with such major budgetary uncertainties. So I really do believe that we are on the precipice of losing 1,500 beds in Wales by 2024. That is the figure that has been predicted by those in the care sector. BCUHB is damaging the care home sector, which does so much to help it.
Will you ask the Minister for Health and Social Services to commit to making a statement on the CHC fees, and undertake an investigation so as to ascertain why care providers are only now being advised how much they will be paid for the wonderful services that they provide? It is no way for any company to run a business. One that actually looks after and provides treatment, care and support for the most vulnerable in our society has a right to know how they can map out their own financial requirements. So I believe this is not only a failure of the health board, but I think it's a weakness of your Government. So I'm very, very interested that you take this matter very seriously, please. Thank you.
Well, Llywydd, the health Minister has been here to listen to Janet Finch-Saunders's concerns, but perhaps if she puts the detail of those particular concerns in some correspondence to the health Minister, he'll be able to look at it in more depth.