The chairman of Four Seasons Health Care has called on the government to create an intermediate care service designed to keep unwell elderly people out of NHS hospitals.
Ian Smith, chairman of the UK’s largest independent care home operator, says he has 2000 care home beds ready to take old people out of hospitals and into the care sector.
“We have to find a way to get people out of hospitals more quickly. We need to build a proper intermediate care sector,” he told BBC radio station 5 Live during a special report on the care home sector.
“It should be built on top of the current nursing home sector,” Mr Smith added.
Four Seasons is closing homes in some of the poorest parts of the country, such as Northern Ireland, as it cannot afford to keep them open.
Mr Smith wants the government to legislate to set a minimum level of fees that every clinical commissioning group would have to pay care homes for each authority-funded resident. “Every other utility has a regulator that ensures that a minimum level of funding is available to provide a return on investment for operators,” he said.