A council leader said social care in West Sussex was ‘teetering on the edge of a cliff’ after a report showed more than one-in-five of the county’s care homes were performing poorly.
Information from the charity Independent Age showed 22.1 per cent of the homes had been rated ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
This compared to 17.3 per cent in January 2018.
Among them was the Royal Bay Residential Care Home, in Bognor Regis, which was shut down last week after the CQC raised ‘serious concerns’.
Peter Lamb (Lab, Northgate), of Crawley Borough Council, said: “Families here in West Sussex need reassurance that vulnerable relatives will be getting the best quality care, but our care homes are failing to provide good quality care.
“Social care is teetering on the edge of a cliff after nine years of Tory cuts to West Sussex’s budget. If ministers don’t act now, things will get much worse.”
The reported listed ten care homes as rated ‘outstanding’, 265 as ‘good’, 74 as ‘requires improvement’ and four as ‘inadequate’.
Looking at the national picture, the report showed care home ratings had dropped in more than one-third – 37 per cent – of local authorities.
Describing the figures as ‘extremely concerning’, it added: “With an ageing population and increased pressures on social care, it is imperative that the social care system is of a sufficient quality to meet the current and future demands.
“This trend shows the system is not ready and the variation in care home quality is only increasing.
“Access to a choice of good quality care home settings is still very much a matter of luck.”
Paul McKay, the county council’s director of adults’ services, said: “A number of the services that are rated as inadequate in these figures are no longer operating but are still registered with the CQC.
“We are committed to providing high quality care for our customers and we have been working very closely with a number of care home providers over the last two years on improving quality, safeguarding and supporting providers with recruitment and retention.
“This work will continue and we would want to see significant improvements in future CQC inspection reports.
“I want to reassure the public that we will be working closely with all care providers within West Sussex to support them in providing the highest quality care.”