Responding to the publication of the Competition and Markets Authority’s final findings following an extensive review of the UK care home sector, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“The findings of the CMA’s review show the stark reality of the social care crisis and the urgent need for genuinely new funding and long-term reform of the sector. This is yet another powerful warning that many care homes are not sustainable.
“Already we are seeing an unfair, unequal two-tier system emerging between those able to choose and pay for their own care, and those reliant on increasingly overstretched council-funded care that is struggling to meet people’s needs as a result of chronic underfunding of adult social care.
“Councils have been doing all they can to protect services that care for older and disabled people and will continue to do so, including provision of information and advice to help people make decisions about how their care needs can be met. But they can only do so much, with an estimated £1.3 billion funding gap between what providers say they need and what councils currently pay. This is an immediate gap that is impacting on the system today, and part of a wider annual £2.3 billion shortfall that adult social care will face by 2020.
“Councils and providers are united around the severity of the challenges the system faces around care home availability and viability.
“The announcement of a social care green paper next summer will be important in delivering long-term reform and raising awareness of care and support so people can better plan for their future, but older and disabled people who need care and support right now cannot be left to make do with sub-standard quality until then. Urgent action is needed now.
“It was hugely disappointing the Government didn’t address the social care crisis in the Autumn Budget, and needs to put this right in the Local Government Finance Settlement.
“If the system is left to carry on as it is, then we will see more and more providers either pulling out of council contracts or going out of business altogether.”