The Care Quality Commission reports that the number of nursing homes in England has fallen for the first time in five years.
In the year 2015-2016, the number of nursing homes fell from 4,697 to 4,633 and the number of their beds reduced from 224,674 to 224,026.
The CQC blames the fall on the quality of nursing home care which continues to be rated lower than other adult social care services, with 36% currently rated as requires improvement and 4% rated as inadequate. Very often, says the CQC, these ratings are influenced by the difficulty nursing homes have in recruiting and retaining nursing staff.
Recently the Skills for Care publication of The State of the Adult Social Care Sector and Workforce in England reported that nine per cent of the 47,000 nursing jobs in adult social care are vacant and in the last year over a third of nurses left their post. That has led to many services relying upon agency staff, which undermines their ability to provide continuity of care for residents.