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Care homes worse in one in three councils, research finds

Independent Age

Care home quality has worsened in more than a third of local authorities, according to older people’s charity, Independent Age.

Analysis of CQC inspection data between January 2018 and January 2019 found care homes got worse in 37% of local authorities.

George McNamara, Director of Policy and Influencing at Independent Age, said: “These findings are truly alarming, and show thousands of vulnerable older people live in homes that are failing to deliver even the bare minimum.

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“Years of dithering by the Government, and the failure to reform the social care system, is a main cause of increased pressures on the care home market and more areas with poor performers. Unless the forthcoming Green Paper is bold and ambitious, it will do little to address the crisis in care.”

By region, 44% of Manchester’s care homes were rated ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’.

There were 16 local authority areas where between 30% and 40% of care homes were inadequate or requires improvement.

Mr McNamara added: “Essentially, the Government continues to stand by and do nothing to address the quality of care suffered by older people, many of whom live with conditions such as  dementia, and who are being robbed of their ability to enjoy life as much as possible.

“As well as being dangerous, poor care is miserable, involving things like being woken up in the night to be dressed or taken to the toilet because of staff shortages. Care homes are where many of us will live out our final months. No life should end in misery.”

Labour’s Shadow Minister for Social Care Barbara Keeley said: “Families need reassurance that vulnerable relatives will be getting the best quality care, but all over the country care homes are failing to provide good quality care – and Tory cuts are to blame.

“Social care is teetering on the edge of a cliff after nine years of Tory cuts to social care. If ministers don’t act now, things will get much worse.

“Vulnerable older people and their families deserve better than this: that is why Labour pledged at the last election to invest an additional £8bn in social care before building a National Care Service for the long term.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are committed to ensuring adult social care in England is high quality, safe and compassionate, and 83% of providers are rated as good or outstanding by the Care Quality Commission. To protect the public and hold providers to account we set up the CQC and invested it with enforcement powers to crack down on poor care or abuse.

“We provided local authorities with access to up to £3.6bn more dedicated funding for adult social care this year and up to £3.9bn for next year and will shortly outline plans for reform to ensure the sector is sustainable for the future.”

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