The number of care home beds in England is at a record low, Public Health England data has revealed.
Care home beds per 100 people aged 75 and over fell to 9.6 at the end of March, down from 9.8 per 100 last year, The Sheffield Star reported.
Professor Martin Green OBE, CEO of Care England (pictured), said long-term capacity could be “severely depleted” without additional funding.
He said: “The unprecedented cost pressures leveraged by COVID-19 put the future of many care providers into question, especially when one considers the burdened nature of the care sector even prior to COVID-19.”
Caroline Abrahams, charity director of Age UK, said care homes were being forced to close due to a lack of funding.
Global property specialist, Knight Frank, revealed last month that care home development was failing keep up with demand, with 6,500 care homes at risk of closure over the next five years.
Care home operator Palms Row Healthcare announced yesterday that advisors had been appointed to look into the sale of its Newfield Nursing Home after Sheffield Teaching Hospitals said it would not be using the service for discharges.
Nicola Richards, Director of Palms Row Health Care, said: “In many ways COVID-19 has been the straw that broke the camel’s back. Care homes across the country are struggling and our news today is a sad reminder that social care needs urgent support and long-term funding solutions agreed in order to be viable.
“At Northfield and Westbourne homes, Palms Row will continue to provide all of the necessary support to make sure that ongoing care for residents continues to the same high standards that we have provided for many years and we will continue to put pressure on those who make the decisions and those who neglected care homes before and during the crisis.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “The number of care home beds remains stable and care given at home is growing, with innovation and technology allowing people to live at home for longer.
“We know there is a need for a long-term solution for social care and are looking at a range of proposals as part of our commitment to bringing forward a plan that puts the sector on a sustainable footing for the future.”