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11th November 2013

A third of care providers could quit in next five years, survey reveals

A survey by Care Forum Wales has revealed the extent of pressures on care homes in Wales - with more than a third of care home owners in Wales saying they don't expect to be in business in five years' time and 800 nursing home beds lost in Wales in the last four years.

Our survey revealed that care home owners are increasingly fed up with the chronic underfunding of the sector and difficulties in recruiting staff.

If homes continue to suffer these pressures and either go out of business or close down this will put yet more pressure on the NHS which is already facing severe pressures on its services.

Key findings of the Care Forum Wales care homes survey:

  • 34 per cent of respondents expect to quit the sector in the next five years
  • 73 per cent have difficulty recruiting staff
  • 60 per cent are unhappy with the current inspection regime
  • 800 nursing beds lost in Wales in the last four years

Care Forum Wales' chair, Mario Kreft, said: "Sadly it's not surprising that people feel so despondent that they are really thinking of throwing in the towel.

"I think it particularly affects the smaller homes that have in the region of 20 or 30 beds.

"People have to understand that care homes are only paid an extra 72p an hour above residential care rates. For that you have to contend with a whole raft of extra responsibilities and legislation. For one thing you have to have a 24/7 full-time registered nurse," he added.

Mr Kreft called for investment to retain the nursing beds that currently underpin the NHS. He said: "What we've got to realise is that there are almost as many beds registered for nursing care in independent homes in Wales as there are in the NHS.

"The demographics tell us there is going to be a doubling of over-85s in Wales in a relatively short space of time and we're going to need to sustain a lot of those nursing beds - but what we're seeing is that there are 800 beds which have gone out of the system in the last four years."

Mr Kreft added: "There are care homes in administration, and often they are community-based nursing homes where the next nearest home is miles and miles away.

"It begs the question about where these vulnerable people are going to go, especially when hospital beds are at a premium because the system is not joined up. It's just going to put more and more pressure on the NHS," he added.


Coverage of this story - read more and listen again

The BBC has covered this story on its website - Almost 800 nursing home beds closed in last four years

BBC Radio Wales dedicated its Eye on Wales programme to the issue on Sunday - listen again here



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