Fears of death by a thousand cuts for care sector
SHOCK figures on the number of care and nursing home closures have prompted calls for urgent action to end the crisis in the care of our most vulnerable.
Campaigners fear the sector is suffering death by a thousand cuts and needs help.
Figures from CSI Market Intelligence reveal that 247 homes closed during 2022 whilst just 123 new ones opened. That left the sector with a net loss of 124 homes and, according to the report, a loss of 230 care beds.
The Independent Care Group (ICG) says the care sector is being left to crumble in front of our eyes.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said:
“These figures provide the latest evidence that the Government is sitting back and letting the care sector die a death by a thousand cuts. This could well be just the tip of the iceberg as the situation worsens every day and more and more homes are lost.
“For every care or nursing home that closes its door there is heartache, upset and anxiety for residents who are losing their homes and hard-working care staff losing their jobs.
“In homecare too we are seeing the capacity shrink as providers close or hand back contracts that are simply not cost-effective to deliver.
“As we lose care providers more and more people will be joining the 2.6m people over 50 who Age UK report are living with unmet care needs.
”The Government surely has a moral responsibility to ensure there is adequate care, including enough publicly-funded beds and homecare, to look after our oldest and most vulnerable citizens.”
The ICG is calling for urgent reform of the care sector, including an immediate cash injection of £7bn extra a year to stabilise the situation.
It published its Five Pillars of Social Care Reform document last autumn, setting out what it believes are the actions required to save the sector.
The five pillars are:
• Ring fence a percentage of GDP to be spent on providing social care to those who already receive it and the 1.6m who can’t get it
• Create a unified National Care Service, incorporating health and social care
• Set a National Minimum Wage per hour for care staff on a par with NHS
• Set up an urgent social care task force to oversee reform
• Fix ‘fair price for care’ tariffs for things like care beds and homecare visits.