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BBC beds shortage report: West Midlands bucks trend and still has capacity

Blog post 3 August 2017

As you’re probably now aware, nationally we are facing what as been described as a ‘huge shortfall’ of beds in residential care.

The BBC broke the news yesterday

Radio 4, which is generally measured and well-researched in its news presentations, painted a bleak picture with “up to 3,000 elderly people” facing the prospect of not being able to get by the end of next year.”

Research commissioned by Radio 4's You and Yours programme reveals a huge shortfall in the number of beds available.

Obviously increasing demand from an ageing population could see that grow to more than 70,000 beds in nine years' time, Samantha Fox reported.

Unfortunately, what the BBC didn’t say was that the shortage is NOT in every area of the country.

The West Midlands still has a surplus of capacity.

Again the response from the Department of Health was predictable, saying local authorities in England had been given an extra £2bn to help fund social care.

But we all know the cash is a drop in the ocean and is probably being diverted to health (Blog post 1 August 2017 Social care cash to go on health – LGA chair warns).

Significantly, the Beeb reported that in the past three years one in 20 UK care home beds has closed, and the research suggests not enough are being added to fill the gap.

Let me quote the online BBC report: “The research, carried out by property consultants JLL, found that since 2002 an average of 7,000 new care home beds had opened in the UK every year, but by 2026 there would be an additional 14,000 people needing residential care home places per year.

“Lead researcher James Kingdom said: ‘We're currently building half the number of care home beds every year that we need.’

‘There are more people living longer.

‘We know that over the course of the next decade there is going to be 2.5 million more over-65s, and as a result that means there is going to be demand for care home beds.

‘To fix that, we need to double the rate of delivery’,”

See the full report here