Residential care funding worry
Published on 14 March 2012 12:30 PM
Residential care homes are experiencing a decline in residents as lack of funding is forcing more people to be looked after in their own homes.
Private medical organisation Bupa said the squeeze has left funding levels 'worryingly inadequate' as it saw occupancy rates in its 302 UK care homes fall from 88% to 87.3% over the last year.
Bupa's chief executive Ray King said the cuts are taking hold across the sector and that 'fairer' rates need to be introduced, or else the current high level of care could be threatened.
Mr King also warned that this could impact upon the NHS and cause bed blocking chaos, and that if the Government does not boost funding then operators will decrease the number of beds available in residential care.
He added: 'The people will keep coming but where will they end up? In the NHS blocking beds.
'I know times are difficult, but at the end of the day we can't have our cake and eat it. We can't put a massive squeeze on care home providers and push hard to get quality standards raised. The whole thing has to be linked by adequate funding.'
Bupa receives 18,000 residents from the NHS or local authorities, which account for 70% of its intake.
Fewer residents and a rise in staffing costs has seen the group Bupa Care Homes UK record lower profits, although its care services division experienced a 5% increase in its surplus due to high-quality performance outside of Britain.
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General at Age UK said: 'The whole care and support system needs a radical overhaul - from creating a national entitlement to care services, to imposing a cap so that people are not faced with personal bankruptcy.
'Funding a sustainable and fair social care system is achievable, but it needs to be a top priority for all political parties. The Dilnot Commission gave the Government a clear blue-print for reform - now they need to act on it and publish a white paper that includes funding plans that will benefit older people now and generations to come.'
Copyright Press Association 2012