New figures confirm nursing home fears

The number of private nursing homes, hospitals
and clinics has fallen once again, continuing the downward trend
since 1998, according to government statistics.

On 31 March 2001 there were about 5,700
private nursing homes, hospitals and clinics, a fall of 3 per cent
compared with 31 March 2000. The number of general nursing homes
fell by 4 per cent and the number of nursing homes for people with
mental health problems fell by 3 per cent.

There were 186,800 registered beds, a fall of
3 per cent from 2000 and 5 per cent lower than in 1996-7. At least
four-fifths of occupied beds were for people aged 65 and over.

Figures also showed that councils were
providing more intensive home care services but to a smaller number
of service users. An estimated 2.88 million contact hours were
provided to 395,500 clients in 381,200 households. This represents
a 3 per cent increase in contact hours but a 4 per cent fall in the
number of households receiving home care compared with 2000.

Help the Aged said that the lack of funding in
social care means that thousands of older people cannot access care
at home or in residential care. It called on the government to
increase social care funding.

Paul Burstow, Liberal Democrat spokesperson
for older people, said that the figures are further proof that the
care home sector will move from “crisis to meltdown” unless urgent
action is taken now.

Community Care Statistics 2001:
Private Nursing Homes, Hospitals and Clinics
is available from

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