Care home quality deteriorating in one in five authorities

New analysis by Independent Age has found that the proportion of care homes rated ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ increased in one in five local authority areas last year.

According to the charity, the North West is the worst performing region when it comes to the proportion of satisfactory care homes, with five of the eight worst performing English local authorities on care home quality in the region and more than one in four care homes across the region performing poorly.

With 28.2 per cent of care homes performing poorly, the North West’s performance was closely followed by Yorkshire and The Humber (26.1 per cent) and the West Midlands (21.3 per cent) as the worst performing regions of England for care home quality. However, Independent Age also found that in areas like Tameside or Portsmouth older people and their families continue to face little choice of quality care, with around half of homes rated not good enough by the Care Quality Commission.

Seven local authority areas have more than two in five homes rated ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’. These are: Tameside (56.8 per cent of homes); Portsmouth (46.5 per cent); Kensington and Chelsea (45.5 per cent); Manchester (43.8 per cent); Bradford (43.6 per cent); Stockport (43.3 per cent); and Trafford (43.1 per cent).

Contrastingly, London, where 17.4 per cent of care homes are performing poorly, the East of England (17.4 per cent) and the East Midlands (18.2 per cent) are the best performing regions for care home quality. In terms of local authority performance, Bracknell Forest, Isles of Scilly, Reading, Rutland and Southwark each have no care homes with ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ ratings.

Janet Morrison, chief executive of Independent Age, said: “Older people and their families are still facing an unenviable choice between poor care homes in some parts of the country. While it is encouraging that there has been an overall improvement in quality, this masks persistent variation in the quality of care homes within each region of the country. The market simply does not seem to be able to drive the rapid improvement needed in many areas. While the Government seems happy to deflect all decisions about social care into the vague promise of a green paper, local authorities are having to make difficult decisions now about care in their area. We urgently need both Government and local authorities to demonstrate that they understand the reasons for this variation and that they have the ability to address it.”

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