The Minister for Health and Social Services asked the Public Policy Institute for Wales (PPIW) to advise him on the resilience of the Care Home Sector in Wales. The PPIW worked with the Institute of Public Care (IPC) to analyse current provision using statistical data and telephone interviews with experts.
Their report finds considerable variations across Wales with some councils managing care homes directly and others running very few, if any, homes themselves. It concludes that Wales is less dependent than England on large scale providers, which makes it less vulnerable to a Southern Cross style crisis but raises questions about future provision as the owners of single homes reach retirement age.
It notes that financial pressures on care homes have made it more difficult for new entrants to enter the market in recent years. Established providers show some interest in expansion, but capital costs are high and future demand uncertain. The cost of care is also growing as people require more intensive support.
The authors also advise that there is a shortage of skilled nursing staff prepared to work in care homes and they suggest that Councils and the Welsh Government need to systematically monitor services, ownership, financial stability, staffing and quality of care in order to plan future provision.
The report recommends that the Welsh Government develops a national standard contract for use by councils and private providers, and consults on whether national policy guidance on fee-setting practice would be useful.
It suggests that councils include the care homes sector and domiciliary care in their wider planning and economic development activities. They should offer business development advice and support to providers and reflect future needs in Local and Strategic Development Plans.
To view the report, please click here.
For more information about this project, please contact Emyr Williams at Emyr.Williams@ppiw.org.uk