Twenty four per cent of care providers could exit the market according to a National Care Association survey of independent care provider members.
The residential care sector is being squeezed to the point where many are considering an exit, which could create a serious bed shortage and have serious repercussions for the NHS.
The National Care Association says that due to a £375 million black hole in state funding such an exit could equate to the loss of 40,000 beds in the independent social care market, and the worsening of a bed-blocking crisis already in evidence across much of the NHS.
National Care Association Chairman, Nadra Ahmed said: “The chronic underfunding of social care by local authorities is prompting the systematic collapse of the independent social care market which could, in turn, mean thousands of frail older people will not be able to access the care and support they need at a time when they are at their most vulnerable.
“This will create a pathway into the NHS, which the State can ill afford, resulting in hospital admissions for non-acute conditions.”
The National Care Association points to a critical shortfall in average council funding of about eight per cent for a typical care home placement as the significant contributory factor in the likely exodus of providers. This underfunding, together with the impact on overheads of the introduction of the Living Wage from April next year, is seriously eroding the viability of many care home businesses.
Without increased funding from local councils in recognition of the true cost of care, the National Care Association believes it will mean the end of the road for many independent care homes.