Care homes on the brink as bailiffs move in
Emily Dugan is social affairs correspondent for The Independent, i and Independent on Sunday. She was previously a news reporter for The Independent on Sunday. Her investigations into human trafficking have twice been awarded Best Investigative Article at the Anti-Slavery Day Media Awards and her human rights journalism was shortlisted for the Gaby Rado Memorial prize at the 2012 Amnesty Media Awards.
Sunday 28 April 2013
Thousands of Britain’s most vulnerable elderly people face rising bills and the prospect of forced relocation from struggling care homes, because record numbers of providers are slipping into administration.
The total of private care home operators going bust grew by 12 per cent in the past 12 months. The annual rate of failures among private providers has more than doubled since the economic crisis began, with 250 residential care operators shutting.
Councils, a vital source of income for private-care providers, are slashing referrals and now seeking to shut their own facilities to meet savings targets. Andy Burnham, the shadow Health Secretary, called the wave of closures a “crisis”.
Providers are said to be caught in a perfect storm of diminishing income while struggling with fixed costs and debts left behind from their rapid expansion during the economic boom. Campaigners claim it will be elderly people – many dementia sufferers – who suffer.
Mr Burnham warned that the closures were part of a wider collapse in social care driven by spending cuts imposed on town halls. One authoritative study places the amount cut from Britain’s adult social services at up to £2bn.
Meeting the rocketing costs of social care for elderly and disabled people is a challenge that is expected to dog governments for decades to come.
Ten million people in the UK are now aged over 65 and their number is expected to have nearly doubled to around 19 million by 2050.
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