Half of care homes in England failing

A new investigation of care home inspections data reveals a postcode lottery of care home quality across England.

According to analysis carried out by Which? of data released by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), more than half of care homes in some parts of England are in facilities rated as ‘inadequate’ or ‘requiring improvement’.

In six local authority areas, good quality care home places are so limited that 50 per cent or more of local beds are in homes rated by CQC inspectors as requiring improvement or inadequate, making it less likely that people looking to move into a care home will be able to find a good place close to home.

The lack of good quality care is particularly acute in the London borough of Westminster, where 69 per cent of beds were found in care homes rated poor or inadequate.

In Manchester and Wakefield, 58 per cent of beds are in care homes rated as poor or inadequate.

In 45 local authority areas a third or more care places are in poor quality care homes. Nine of these councils are in the capital and include Westminster, Tower Hamlets, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Newham, Haringey, Barnet, Ealing and Harrow.

While the research, which compared the quality of local provision in 151 council areas that provide adult social care, provides some worrying figures, there are a small number of areas where at least nine in 10 care home beds are in homes rated as good or outstanding.

Overall, the analysis highlights the huge regional variation in the provision of quality local care across the country that exists in the current care market.

Izzi Seccombe, chair of the Local Government Association's Community Well-being board, said: "These findings show that the social care crisis is very real and that already we are seeing the consequences of the chronic underfunding of the system on providers and the quality of care.

“The announcement of a social care green paper next summer will be important in delivering long-term reform, 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.

“We estimate that there is a £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.

“While it was hugely disappointing the Government didn’t address this funding gap in the Autumn Budget, it 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."

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