An elderly care specialist has called for action to boost the industry’s capacity, as figures revealed councils could be struggling to meet demand.
Jonathan Bruce, managing director of Prestige Nursing and Care, warned that because of council budget cuts made by the last government, only the most serious cases were qualifying for council care.
He said: “There are going to be extraordinary demands on our care services in the years to come, and we need action now on providing adequate reward and strong career prospects to those we need so desperately to join the profession.”
His remarks came as freedom of information requests submitted by Prestige Nursing and Care to 103 UK councils for the January 2015 period revealed that 48 per cent of the councils were unable to find a care provider to cover all care requests.
The number of unfulfilled hours ranged from 21 hours to 4,124 over the month.
The average number of hours not placed at the first point across all councils was 582 a month.
|48% of UK councils asked were unable to find a provider to cover all care requests in January 2015|
|The number of unfulfilled hours ranged from 21 to 4,124 hours in that month|
|The average number of hours not placed at the first point was 582 a month|
Source: Prestige Nursing and Care
Mr Bruce pointed to analysis by Prestige Nursing and Care of Office for National Statistics population projection and employment statistics, which found that the over-65 population in the UK could grow to 11 million in 2015.
He claimed that if the care gap were to grow at the same rate, this would mean that by 2025 the average council would be unable to fill 716 hours of care each month.
Meanwhile, the International Longevity Centre – UK replaced its Care Funding Advice Network with the Centre for Later Life Funding to reflect a focus on retirement planning.
Ben Franklin, who takes up the position of head of economics of an ageing society at the centre, said: “Long-term care can be one of the biggest costs people face during retirement, but there is often an unhelpful artificial separation of discussions about retirement funding and discussions around care funding.”
Janet Davies, co-founder of Warwickshire-based care fees planning network Symponia, said: “The underfunding of social care will only get worse, with blatant untruths from politicians helping no one.
“Honesty may not solve the crisis either, but it will show a degree of integrity and probity not yet seen.”