People sent to care homes more than 450 miles away from home

“One in five care home residents have been sent out of their local area, with some stranded more than 450 miles from families and friends, according to official data revealed under freedom of information (FOI) laws.

In the worst cases, frail or vulnerable people are being taken from five local authority areas in London and southern England to Glasgow and northeast Scotland, because beds are unavailable at home or cheaper elsewhere.

More than two thirds of the local authorities which responded to the FOI request said they had sent somebody at least 125 miles away.

Barbara Keeley, Labour’s shadow minister for social care, who found the information, said: “This makes a mockery of the government’s claim that they want people to receive care at home.”

The human cost of the policy was described as “heartbreaking” by Judy Downey, chief executive of the charity Relatives and Residents Association. On average, one in 10 care home residents never receive any visitors.

“If [friends and family] can’t get there, frankly it doesn’t matter if it is five miles away or 500,” she said. “Often people have more information about their weekend break in Paris than they are ever going to get on what goes on in a care home.”

Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, which represents independent social care services, said: “Local authorities just look for where they can find a bed . . . It’s a really huge issue because people should not be removed from their communities or their families.”

Source: Sunday Times (pay wall)

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