North West facing critical shortage of care home beds, new research reveals

A study from property consultancy JLL says the region will have a shortfall of 3,000 care home beds by 2018 – but the current pipeline for new beds next years currently stands at just 800. Tony McDonough reports

Demand for care home places is set to soar over the next decade

 

Merseyside and the North West is facing a critical shortage of care home beds over the next few years, a new study claims.

Research from property consultancy JLL says the region will have a shortfall of 3,000 care home beds by 2018 – but the current pipeline for new beds next years currently stands at just 800.

Rising demand

Changing demographics across the UK means demand for care home beds will soar and JJL claims the North West needs to create an extra 14,800 beds by 2026 to keep up.

With just under 1,500 beds lost in the market in 2016, the regional build rate could actually be closer to 1,650 new beds per year in order to offset home closures.

With about 77% of all care home beds built before modern quality standards were adopted in 2002, there is an urgent need for new development to meet demand and improve living standards for future care home residents.

Precarious state

Early last months the care homes regulator, The Care Quality Commission, said the care home sector was in a “precarious” state with one in three nursing homes were not providing acceptable standards of care.

In his last Budget Chancellor Philip Hammond pledged an extra £2bn for the care home sector but this was seen as a short-term solution and the Government pledged to publish a Green Paper on the future of the sector in its election manifesto.

Mindset change

Eamonn Meadows, associate director in JLL’s Healthcare team, said: “A change of mindset is required that sees the development of care homes as an imperative for society.

“Attendant to reforms contained in the green paper should perhaps be protection or classification of land allocated to retirement living developments to ensure that the right type of housing is being built in the right locations.

“This would enable people to extend the period of independent living.”

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