Care home users being sent out of local area

Barbara Keeley MP

Thousands of people are being sent away from their local area to receive residential care, Freedom of Information (FoI) figures have revealed.

More than 28,000 care home service users had to leave their area in 2017/18, with some having to travel hundreds of miles. In one case a person was over 500 miles from their local authority area.

The Labour Party obtained the information through FoI requests sent to 152 care-commissioning local authorities. It received 111 responses.

Every local authority that responded sent older and disabled people out of the area for residential care.

A total of 28,465 care packages were commissioned in residential care homes outside their area in 2017/18. Of these, 17,220 were for people aged over 65, and 11,245 for people aged 18-64.

Lambeth Council commissioned a care package 542 miles away in Aberdeenshire, while East Sussex commissioned one 480 miles away in Clydebank, Glasgow.

The government has provided councils with access to up to £3.6bn for adult social care this year and a further £410m for adult and children’s services.

However, Barbara Keeley MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Social Care, said: ‘It is unacceptable that nearly a fifth of people in care homes are not able to receive care in their own area.

‘This makes a mockery of the government’s claim that they want people to receive care at home. Not only are fewer people getting homecare, but others are being sent to care homes hundreds of miles from where they live.

‘If the government is serious about supporting older and disabled people to live the lives they choose, then they must increase investment in social care across the board.’

Care England chief executive Prof Martin Green said: ‘The growing number of people who are being required to live a long way from their homes and their communities, is a symptom of the underfunding of the social care sector, which is at breaking point. We need a long-term funding solution for social care and we need more services in local areas to meet increasing need.’