The independent care home market for older/physically disabled residents was worth £14.3 billion in 2015, precisely the same value as 2014, according to the latest LaingBuisson Healthcare Market Review.
The overall size of the care home industry may be flat year-on-year, but its revenue mix is changing, with self-funding rising from 36% to 38.5% of fees. Funding from local authorities outsourcing to independent operators also rose from 54.8% to 56% as councils continued to stop running their own care homes.
Speaking at the launch of the 2015 Healthcare Market Review, LaingBuisson chairman William Laing said the shape of the independent health and care provision market is changing, with some care homes being driven towards bankruptcy while others are thriving.
“Austerity has brought major challenges to some segments, in particular care homes and home care for older people, where prices on offer to independent partners have been driven below sustainable levels, but good operators with prudent borrowing are confident they can weather the storm,” he said.
Current Government policy of giving more power to the NHS rather than encouraging more private provision of health and care services is holding back growth for independents, Mr Laing suggested.
“Looking to the future, independent sector operators believe that they have an important role to play in the transformation of UK health and social care from its fragmented, hospital-based present to an integrated, community-based future, which is the consensus goal of policymakers, but while the regulatory changes of recent years mean that they can now compete on a reasonably level playing field with NHS in-house providers, they are being held back because the Conservative government still sees internal reform of the NHS as the more politically acceptable solution to the efficiency challenge for the NHS, rather than strong encouragement of more competition and outsourcing to the independent sector,” he concluded.