The report from think-tank Demos that suggests NHS Trusts should sell surplus land next to hospitals to build enough care homes and supported living apartments to meet increasing demand has been well received generally by the industry.
The commission was led by former care minister, Paul Burstow, who said it was vital that government should wake up to the reality of the problem sooner rather than later and help create the right incentives to ensure older and disabled people have a genuine choice when they need to move.
Care England chief executive, Professor Martin Green said: “The DEMOS commission has given us a vision for the future of residential care and challenges everyone, whether they are a citizen, a commissioner or a provider of residential services, to put aside old models and preconceptions about residential care and to firmly position it as a housing and support option that is fit for purpose in the 21st-century.
“One of the very refreshing things about this commission was that it started from the premise that residential care was currently providing thousands of people with a high quality and personalised service, and it unequivocally acknowledged the contribution and quality of the vast majority of residential care.”
Stephen Burke, director of Good Care Guide, a review website for the care industry, said: “I very much welcome moves to encourage the development of more care homes – particularly the co-location of care homes with other community facilities such as nurseries and children’s centres which is an idea that has proved successful in other countries. This will help strengthen relationships between people of all ages and change perceptions of care homes.
“The re-branding of residential care to ‘housing with care’ and the drive to increase housing and care options for older people in later life are both excellent ideas.”
But he cautioned: “While the majority of the Commission’s findings would be beneficial to the care industry – and to our nation’s cared-for on the whole – what they fail to mention is how any of this is going to be paid for. Growing numbers of older people need better care wherever they live and that care has to be properly funded. Without proper funding, this is yet another wish list.”