Care home scandal that shames BritainRita Dune
Care home scandal that shames Britain.
Swathes of England are now “care deserts” leaving vulnerable pensioners without a care home place even if they can afford to pay, a devastating study reveals.
Almost a third of 7,578 English postcode areas have no care home beds and two thirds have no nursing care places, analysis found.
As many as 2,244 have no care home beds available – leaving 30 per cent with no local provision – while 5,300 have no nursing home beds. There are 1.4 million over-65s not getting all the care they need.
Kieran Lucia, of healthcare consultancy Incisive Health, from whom the report was commissioned by Age UK, said: “The social care system is broken. Despite the best efforts of the dedicated social care workforce, years of political inaction and budget cuts to local authorities have resulted in a system no longer capable of delivering.”
The report highlights a huge local lottery for care. In Hull, East Yorkshire, it is virtually impossible to find a nursing home bed. Provision has plummeted 30 percent in three years. Elderly people in Totnes, Devon, face a similar ordeal.
These are localities where there is no care to be had, even when older people can afford to pay. Pensioners may therefore be housed far away from family and friends.
Jan Shortt, general secretary of the National Pensioners Convention, said: “Not only is the care system collapsing because of the sheer unfairness of the means-test, a high turnover of staff and poor quality of some homes – but now it seems there aren’t even enough beds. We need a tax-funded national care service.”
The lack of availability of nursing home beds is particularly alarming, says the study. The vacancy rate for registered nurses in social care has tripled between 2012/13 and 2017/18 to 12.3 percent with numbers falling by 9,500. The number of hours of care provided has fallen by three million over the past three years, the report says.
It warns that “there are some parts of the country where there are no longer providers available to deliver nursing home services”.
Researchers carried out a “deep dive” into Hull, Norfolk, Totnes, Guildford and Leicester. In Guildford, there is a good spread of services, reflecting “self-funding” pensioners propping up the market.
41 percent of those in residential care are now self-funders, paying extra fees
In mainly rural Norfolk, pensioners in some areas are left with only homes rated as “inadequate”.
Jane Ashcroft CBE, chief executive of Anchor Hanover, England’s largest provider of care and housing, said: “The Government must provide councils with funds to cover the costs of care provision. Also, many people don’t consider working in care so the Government needs to do more to promote this.”
Publication of the Social Care Green Paper has been delayed six times by the Government. The report also shows 41 percent of those in residential care are now self-funders. These also pay extra fees – £43million a week – a stealthy cross-subsidy supporting private homes struggling to survive on low local authority fees.
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