Nine-tenths of English councils ‘facing shortage of care home places by 2022’

5 Oct 17

Nearly nine in 10 councils in England could face a shortfall in care home places by 2022 unless urgent action is taken, according to research from Which?.

The consumer organisation published analysis of care home data from across England on Wednesday that suggested 87% of councils responsible for providing social care may not have enough places to meet potential demand in five years.

A spokesman for Which? said this highlighted a “looming local crisis” in care home provision.

The areas forecast to suffer the greatest shortfalls are:

·      Bracknell Forest in Berkshire with 53% more care places needed by 2022 than are currently available

·      Lewisham 48%

·      Harringey 38%

·      Hartlepool 35%

According to Which? research from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) suggested it can take up to between five and seven years to plan, build and open a care home, meaning providers are less able to quickly respond to changes in demand.

Which? said: “We’ve already heard from hundreds of relatives of care home residents, who have highlighted existing problems in the current care home market.

“Some have had to wait years to find a suitable care home or have had to place their relative far away, as there was no suitable place available locally.”

Areas which will have a surplus in care homes places by 2022 include Bexley (26%), Peterborough (17%), Stoke-on-Trent (14%), Portsmouth (13%) and Trafford (10%).

Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “These findings reinforce our warning about the urgent need to reform adult social care and deliver a long-term sustainable solution that delivers a range of high quality care and support for the growing numbers of people who will need it.”

She said the £2bn announced in the Spring Budget was a “step in the right direction” but is only a one-off injection and does not fill the £2.3bn social care funding gap expected by 2020.

This is part of the £5.3bn overall black hole facing local authority finances by 2020, according to the LGA.

Seccombe said: “Councils need to be given the freedom and flexibility to spend the additional funding for social care in the places where they feel it will be most effective.

“It is absolutely critical that the government uses the Autumn Budget to bring forward its consultation for social care announced in the Queen’s Speech, and that it works with local government leaders in delivering a long-term sustainable solution for social care.”

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