Shock Figures on Empty Care Homes

Shock new figures on the number of empty care home beds should be ringing alarm bells in the Government, providers warned today.

But instead, the Government continues to deny there is a crisis in the sector, the Independent Care Group (ICG) says.

The number of care home residents has fallen by around 8% since before the pandemic, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

ICG Chair Mike Padgham said
:
“This doesn’t come as a surprise, but alarm bells should be ringing in Whitehall.

“Care homes are in a very precarious position, but the Government still insists there is no funding crisis in the sector.

“Covid-19 devastated bed occupancy. There was tragic loss of life and after its peak homes were restricted in taking new admissions as Covid breakouts continued.

“Now, admission levels are struggling to recover because confidence has been affected. At the same time, the sector is going through a staffing crisis with many providers in both care and nursing homes, and in home care, struggling to fill shifts.

“And now rocketing bills, including gas and electric, are placing huge financial pressures on those homes.

“All in all, this is a terrible time for the social care sector – the worst I have known in more than 33 years providing care.

“We continue to lobby for more Government support, including earlier access to the Health and Social Care Levy proceeds. At the moment, the bulk of that £36bn fund is set to go to the NHS first – but we are calling for social care to get an equal share quickly – otherwise, care providers are going to go out of business and that will leave hundreds of thousands of people without the care they need.

“However, social care minister Gillian Keegan continues to live in denial, claiming just last week that there was sufficient funding to allow councils to effectively deliver adult social care services.

“I, and I am sure many local authority directors, would beg to differ. But whilst we continue to fight against this lack of awareness, care providers will continue to fight for survival.”

The ICG wants to see:
• A root and branch overhaul of the way social care is planned and funded
• NHS care and social care merged and managed locally or nationally
• Extra funding for social care, funded by taxation
• Dementia treated and funded like other high priority illnesses
• A fixed percentage of GDP to be spent on social care
• Proper pay, conditions and career structure for carers

 

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