A BBC Panorama investigation has found care firms have cancelled contracts with 95 UK councils, saying they cannot deliver services for the amount they are being paid. This figure comes from a Freedom of Information request, which was responded to by 197 of 212 UK councils.
The research was carried out for Panorama by Opus Restructuring and Company Watch and showed that 69 home care companies have closed in the last three months and one in four of the UK’s 2,500 home care companies is at risk of insolvency.
The biggest problems are recruitment and retention of carers, with the nationwide shortage of carers leaving many elderly people stuck in NHS wards, which produces bed blocking. Estimates from The Centre for Workforce Intelligence show at least two million more carers will be needed by 2025 in England alone, in both in-home care and care homes, to cope with growing demand.
Councillor Izzi Seccombe from the Local Government Association, which represents councils across England and Wales, said: –
“We have warned that the combination of the historic under-funding of adult social care, and the significant pressures of an ageing population and the national living wage, are pushing the care provider market to the brink of collapse.
“These figures show the enormous strain providers are under, and emphasises the urgent need for a long-term, sustainable solution to the social care funding crisis.”
Chancellor Philip Hammond announced earlier in March that an extra £2bn funding for social care would be given to English councils over the next three years. Despite this the care home industry says that with an increasing ageing population, this isn’t enough to keep pace with demand. In response, the government has said it will be bringing forwards more proposals later this year, to ensure a financially sustainable social care system.