Liberal Democrats have called for urgent action to address the growing social care crisis, after new figures reveal the number of care homes across England has fallen by 10% since 2015.
The data, acquired by the Liberal Democrats from the House of Commons Library, also shows that while the average number of beds per care home rose from 27 to 30 during that time, 5,110 beds have been lost overall.
Some areas have lost 40 per cent of care home beds, exposing a dangerous postcode lottery in the availability of residential social care.
Last month it emerged that hotels were being converted into temporary care facilities, with staff flown in from Spain and Greece, to relieve the strain on NHS hospital beds as over 10,000 beds were occupied by medically fit patients.
The Liberal Democrats have warned the figures show the crisis facing social care is serious and extra funding is needed vitally – as many providers are facing seeing no any extra cash from the NI tax hike for years to come.
Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said: “Our social care system has never been in such a dire state, with the provision of services simply not sufficient to meet demand.
“That there is a postcode lottery on whether our loved ones will have a care home bed is shameful and a damning indictment of a Conservative Government that has spent years dragging its feet on this issue.
“Boris Johnson stood on the steps of Downing Street over two years ago and promised he had a plan to fix social care. Instead, we have an unfair and ill-conceived national insurance tax hike that won’t bring in any extra cash for our care homes for years to come.
“With scarce room in our care homes, the elderly with care needs are instead being looked after in hospitals already under immense pressure from Covid.
“The Government must urgently fix this issue to ease pressure on our NHS and ensure every elderly person receives the care they were promised and deserve.”