Nearly a quarter of English care homes for the over 64s run by large providers require improvement or are inadequate, according to figures compiled by the consumer watchdog Which?
The charity examined the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection ratings for 54 providers who run at least 12 residential homes that care exclusively for people aged 65 and over.
Of the 1,917 homes examined 24% required improvement or were inadequate. The CQC’s recent State of Health Care and Adult Social Care report puts the figure for all residential homes at 18%, but that figure includes services that cater for a wider age group or younger adults.
Alex Hayman, managing director of public markets at Which?, said: “Too few providers are able to offer consistent, high quality care – limiting choice for stressed families in a system which is already close to breaking point.
“The government must now ensure that its green paper on care delivers the fundamental reforms needed to secure high quality, affordable care for older people – both now and in the future.”
Councillor Izzy Seccombe, chairman of the Community Wellbeing Board at the Local Government Association, said the findings reflect the reality of the social care funding crisis.
“It is a further warning on the sustainability of the care market, which is becoming increasingly fragile,” she said.
“There is an urgent need for genuinely new funding and long-term reform of the sector, if councils and providers are to address the severity of challenges facing the provider market to ensure people receive high quality care at the right time and in the right place for them.”
Which? also ranked the providers it examined by the percentage of their homes that it classed as ‘failing’ due to the CQC rating them as inadequate or requiring improvement. Inadequate and requiring improvement ratings counted equally to the rankings of the providers.
Avery and North Yorkshire County Council topped the list with no homes classed as ‘failing’.
Ideal Care Homes came bottom of the list with 63% of its 16 homes deemed inadequate or requiring improvement.
Areas of weakness
“We are deeply disappointed with our overall CQC ratings across our homes,” said Paul Farmer, managing director of Ideal Care Homes.
“Over the past 18 months Ideal Care Homes has identified a number of areas of weakness in our processes and procedures which we have found solutions for.
“These solutions have been implemented across our homes to improve standards in every area of our service including: changes in management; investment in staff and their training; increased measures for compliance monitoring and support; and new technology to support improvements.
“Whilst we are confident that the changes we have made will improve the quality of care our residents receive, and secure better CQC ratings in the future, these changes take time to imbed.”
Which? is currently running a care homes campaign calling on the government to improve the choice and quality in residential care.