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County Council pays millions for unused beds

West Sussex County Council has been paying out millions of pounds for unused care home beds, according to an internal report.

The council is 17 years into a 30-year contract with Shaw Healthcare, which costs £23.6m per year for 590 beds in 12 care homes.

But the report to a council committee said that during some months in 2021/2022 fewer than 80% of the beds were being used, leaving more than 100 unoccupied, at a cost of between £4.5 and £5 million

Alan Sinclair, director of adults and health at the county council, said negotiations with Shaw were “ongoing”.

The contract with Shaw was signed in February 2005 and ends in 2035, with the £23.6m payable each year, no matter how many of the beds are unused.

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