'˜Unenviable choice' as a quarter of care homes are rated poorly

OLDER people are facing an 'unenviable' choice between poor care homes, a charity has warned, after its research revealed that more than a quarter of care homes in Yorkshire are rated '˜inadequate' or '˜requires improvement' by the social care watchdog.

Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire

The region is the second worst performing in England, behind only the North West, when it comes to the proportion of satisfactory care homes, analysis of Care Quality Commission reports by Independent Age has found.

Across Yorkshire, care homes in the Bradford local authority area performed worst - with 43.6 per cent of homes rated inadequate or requires improvement - the fifth worst performance in England.

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Elsewhere, 38.9 per cent of care homes in Wakefield rated poorly, along with 36.5 per cent in Kirklees.

At the other end of the scale, 83.2 per cent of homes in North Yorkshire were rated ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’, along with 82.7 per cent in Doncaster.

Chief executive of Independent Age, Janet Morrison, said there was “persistent variation” in the quality of care homes within each region in the country, though overall the percentage of poor care homes has decreased in the past year.

The charity is calling on the Government to address quality of care in the social care market in its forthcoming green paper, and is calling on the Department of Health and Social Care to “demonstrate leadership”on tackling regional variation in care home quality.

It also says local authorities must do more to shape the local care market under its duties under the Care Act.

Ms Morrison said: “Older people and their families are still facing an unenviable choice between poor care homes in some parts of the country.

“The market simply does not seem to be able to drive the rapid improvement needed in many areas. While the Government seems happy to deflect all decisions about social care into the vague promise of a green paper, local authorities are having to make difficult decisions now about care in their area. We urgently need both Government and local authorities to demonstrate that they understand the reasons for this variation and that they have the ability to address it.”

A Bradford Council spokesperson said it works closely with care home providers that are rated inadequate to tackle performance and has seen a “small but steady” increase in quality.

She added: “Processes are in place to ensure that providers are appropriately identifying weaknesses in their quality systems and measures to ensure that they are given the opportunity to make the necessary improvements.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “81 per cent of care services are rated as good or outstanding and we’re committed to driving further improvements and reducing variation.

“That’s why we’re consulting soon on new measures to do just that, and have provided local authorities with an extra £2 billion funding as well as a further £150 million for next year.”

• Plans for an 86-bed private care home on the site of a former council-run facility in Pudsey, Leeds, are expected to be approved today at the second time of asking. An initial blueprint was deferred last month after a raft of objections.