“Up to 3,000 elderly people will not be able to get beds in UK care homes by the end of next year, research suggests.
Research commissioned by BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme reveals a huge shortfall in the number of beds available.
Increasing demand from an ageing population could see that grow to more than 70,000 beds in nine years’ time.
The Department of Health said local authorities in England had been given an extra £2bn to help fund social care.
But in the past three years one in 20 UK care home beds has closed, and research suggests not enough are being added to fill the gap. …
The research, carried out by property consultants JLL, found that since 2002 an average of 7,000 new care home beds had opened in the UK every year, but by 2026 there would be an additional 14,000 people needing residential care home places per year.
Lead researcher James Kingdom said: “We’re currently building half the number of care home beds every year that we need.”
“There are more people living longer.
“We know that over the course of the next decade there is going to be 2.5 million more over-65s, and as a result that means there is going to be demand for care home beds.
“To fix that, we need to double the rate of delivery”. …
In the past three years, 21,500 care beds have closed in the UK.
People in the care industry worry that as bed capacity decreases and demand increases, there will be more pressure on NHS beds as elderly people are admitted to hospital because they can’t cope at home.
The government estimates this already costs the NHS in England £900m a year.
Pete Calveley, from Barchester Health Care, said it was an increasing feature of the health and social care environment because there was not enough capacity in the community.”