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Wealthy areas do not affect whether a care home is good or outstanding, according to a new report, with Blackburn with Darwen leading the way for the North West in Good or Outstanding ratings.
The research carried out by Which? has found that the quality of a care home is not determined by the income level of the area, with Chelsea, one of the wealthiest boroughs in London, having almost exactly the same number of inadequate beds as Tower Hamlets, one of the most deprived boroughs in London.
Blackburn with Darwen, which is one of the most deprived areas in England, has nine in 10 care home beds rated good or outstanding.
Compare this to the London borough of Westminster, care homes are particularly poor, with 69 per cent of care home beds found to be poor or inadequate.
Janet Morrison, chief executive of Independent Age, called the lack of quality care available in some parts of the country “nothing short of scandalous”.
She said: “It is simply unacceptable that, in some areas, more than half the beds available are in care homes rated poor or inadequate.
“This means a shocking lack of choice for some older people and their families. None of us want to live somewhere that is below par, and that doesn’t change if we have to live in a care home.
“The Government has promised a Green Paper on social care next year, but we need to ensure that there are solutions in the short-term too.”
Which? examined data from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and found that in six local authority areas good quality care home places are so limited, that 50 per cent or more of beds are in homes rated by CQC inspectors as requiring improvement or inadequate.
In Manchester and Wakefield, three in five beds (58 per cent) are in care homes rated as poor or inadequate, closely followed by Kirklees (57 per cent), Portsmouth (56 per cent) and Tameside (55 per cent).
In 45 out of England’s 151 local authority areas a third or more care places are in poor quality care homes.
Nine of these councils are in the capital and include Westminster (69 per cent of beds are in failing homes), Tower Hamlets (48 per cent), Islington (47 per cent), Kensington and Chelsea (46 per cent), Newham (41 per cent), Haringey (41 per cent), Barnet (40 per cent), Ealing (35 per cent) and Harrow (33 per cent).
‘Unacceptable postcode lottery’
Dominic Carter, senior policy officer at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “The unacceptable postcode lottery of care in this country has been exacerbated by a continued lack of funding, leaving local authorities with very little resource to provide the care people with dementia need.
“Many homes have already been forced to shut their doors, while those still in operation are under increasing strain. The Government must stop shifting responsibility onto people with dementia and their families and inject the funding that is needed to provide good quality, affordable and widely-available care.”