The top four independent care home groups in the UK account for just 14.9% of the overall market, according to the latest Healthcare Market Review by LaingBuisson.
The market share of Four Seasons (4.9%), Bupa Care Homes (4.7%), Barchester Healthcare (2.8%) and HC-One (2.4%) account for just 1115 care homes out of a total of 11,670.
They collectively provide 67,354 beds, amounting to 14.8% of the 453,000 beds provided by the entire UK industry.
“Despite the emergence of several large-scale corporate portfolios over the last two decades, the elderly care home sector remains relatively fragmented. Market concentration – the share of the market held by the four largest for-profit providers – was 14.9% in February 2016 following an unprecedented 5 percentage point drop from a high of 20.1% as a result of the demise of former market leader Southern Cross Healthdare in late 2011,” the LaingBuisson report states.
Market concentration is a crucial issue as the care home industry battles to be heard in its negotiations with central Government and local authorities for better funding settlements.
There is a live debate about the combined cost of health and social care, but it is dominated by the NHS, its trades associations and trade unions.
“Market concentration remains low compared with other more mature sectors of the economy, and indeed compared with other segments of healthcare provision,” the report suggests.