Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Elderly Pay Price as 200 Care Homes Close in South-East

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Elderly Pay Price as 200 Care Homes Close in South-East

Article excerpt


NURSING homes are closing at a rate of 200 per year in the South-East, sparking a crisis in care for the elderly and physically disabled.

Campaigners warn that vulnerable pensioners are paying a devastating price as their health suffers when homes close. The scale of the problem became clear after 102-year-old former teacher Rose Cottle took her case direct to Tony Blair as she appealed for him to intervene to prevent her being evicted from a residential care home for the second time in three years.

Miss Cottle, who sold her home to pay for her nursing care, was in Downing Street yesterday with a 5,000 signature petition protesting at the expected closure of the Boreham Wood Care Village in Hertfordshire. The owners of the home say it has lost [pound]3million in 10 years and have urged the Government to provide more money through local authorities.

Analysis of official figures reveals that the South-East in particular is losing beds in care homes at a startling rate. Between 2000 and 2001, 700 care homes closed across England, with the loss of 4,700 places - in the South-East, there was a fall of 200 homes and 1,000 places. And although London saw the number of care home places creep up, the capital's level of provision is still way below the rest of the country.

Department of Health figures show that across England an average of 437 care home places are provided for every 10,000 of the population aged over 65.

Yet in London, there are only 323 places per 10,000 population, falling to a low of just 181 places per 10,000 residents in Kensington and Chelsea.

Michael Leadbetter, president of the Association of Directors of Social Services, said that historically London has had fewer places available because high property prices make the business less attractive to private providers. …

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