As someone who hails from Hastings and now runs a care business in North Yorkshire, I was dismayed to hear of plans to close two care homes in my former home town.
Closing care homes is, I know, always a last resort because of the stress and upset it causes to the residents involved and research shows it can have a detrimental effect on their lives. Such decisions are never taken lightly but I fear, due to the current crisis in social care, they will become more and more common as it becomes harder for care homes to survive.
There are estimates that up to a quarter of care homes are at risk in the coming three years. The economic downturn has seen billions cut from funding social care and that, allied to rapidly rising costs, including the introduction of the National Living Wage, is making it virtually impossible to keep care homes going, particularly for smaller to medium sized operators. Some 380 care home businesses have become insolvent since 2010.
The real issue is that the care of our oldest and most vulnerable citizens is not a top priority for the Government at the moment – though if the crisis deepens and its impact on NHS health services grows, it certainly will be.
People should be pressing the local MP for Hastings and Rye, Home Secretary Amber Rudd and calling upon her to put pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May to act on the social care crisis and get more funding in to save the sector, not just for the sake of care in Hastings but for the rest of the country too. We simply must care for these people better.
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