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Call to end elderly care "lottery"

Union members have called for an end to the "unfair" postcode lottery that elderly people are subject to when searching for care services in the UK.

The plea comes after a study showed the south-east region had the greatest number of beds in care homes for the elderly, at 61,000, followed by the north-west (51,000), south-west (43,000), and Scotland (37,000).

The GMB union research showed that in total there are more than 420,000 beds, with an occupancy rate of more than 90%. Occupancy rates ranged from 88% in the North, Yorkshire and Humberside, to 94% in Wales.

The GMB published the findings as part of a submission to the government calling for sustainable long-term funding that was not subject to "constant changes".

GMB national official, Sharon Holder, said: "We want to see free personal care funded from general taxation for all elderly who need assistance either in their own home or in a residential care home.

"We also want to see the workforce who undertake this care to be properly paid and have good conditions of employment and the skills and career structure that enables them to deliver a first class caring service.

"This service cannot be provided on the cheap and the postcode lottery that the current funding regime entails is not fair and cannot deliver the standards that are needed."

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