Hartlepool is set to see one of the biggest shortfalls in care places in England in the next five years, according to a new study.
Research by consumer champion Which? indicates the town will need 35 per cent more care places by 2022 than are currently available – the fourth largest predicted shortage in the country.
Almost nine in 10 council areas across England could see shortages in places unless urgent action is taken says Which?
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched last December looking at whether the residential care homes sector is working well for elderly people and their families.
The analysis of how population changes may impact on elderly care beds found only 20 of the 150 council areas are on track to keep up with likely demand.
MP for Hartlepool Mike Hill, who previously pushed for a review of residential care provision in light of closures, said: “It’s simply not right that there are insufficient places for our elderly in their own communities and I know the Council shares that opinion.
“I am aware that work is progressing to address things and I look forward to seeing some positive outcomes.”
Based on ONS population projections, it shows there will be an estimated shortfall of 42,000 elderly care home beds by 2022 in England. A meeting of the Hartlepool Matters working group, which is spearheading closer integration of health and social care in the town, heard on Monday how Hartlepool’s care provision has improved recently with new homes opening and more expected.
Jill Harrison, Hartlepool Borough Council’s director of adult and community based services, said: “We’ve had a number of home closures in Hartlepool in recent years and the impact of that has been significant.
“We had people delayed in hospital waiting for care home places. We’ve also had people having to move out of the area needing nursing care.
“That situation has improved significantly. We’ve had some new care home provision in the town and more care home provision is planned.”
Ms Harrison said the council had also done a lot of work with homes to improve the quality of care they provide including extra training and enhanced pharmacy support.
Alex Hayman, from Which?, said: “It’s heart-breaking that families who have no choice but to put a relative into care then have the additional stress of not knowing if they can find a space in a suitable home that’s close to loved ones.”