NHS has ‘neglected’ housing warn care experts

2 March 2015

  • Commission says NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens ‘neglected’ the role of housing in his plans for the NHS.
  • Rapid review of housing, health and care demand and funding must be a priority for any new government.
  • Almost 450,000 people in care homes in England with an additional 239,000 over 85s predicted to need round the clock care by 2030.
  • Five million disabled people currently in need of accessible homes.

The Commission on Residential Care, chaired by former care services Minister Paul Burstow MP, will warn today that NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens missed a major opportunity to save the NHS billions in neglecting the critical role that housing plays in keeping people out of hospital in his five year plans for the NHS.

Launching a blueprint for action at an event held at City University London, the Commission warns that a lack of suitable housing for disabled and older people means that only the richest will get a proper choice about where they live and the care they receive, with little more than a ‘tattered safety net’ for the rest. It is calling for a rapid review of health, care and housing demand and spending by the next government to ensure that the whole system is fit for purpose and sustainable for the future. 

Commenting, Mr Burstow said: ‘For far too long we have ignored the housing needs of older and disabled people. As a result we are now heading for crisis, with inadequate and poor quality housing adding ever increasing pressure to an overstretched health service and costing the taxpayer billions.

‘That Simon Stevens’ NHS Forward View neglected the role of housing was a massive missed opportunity to keep people out of hospital and feeling in control of their lives and their independence. Addressing this must be one of the first priorities for any new government. There must be a non-partisan fundamental review of health and care spending including the vital contribution that housing can make.’

With almost 450,000 people living in care homes across England, and five million disabled people currently in need of accessible homes, a radical approach is needed to deliver housing with care fit for the twenty-first century - from accessible housing in the community to specialist nursing care. The Commission warns that with the number of people over the age of 65 set to nearly double by 2019 and an additional 239,000 over-85s predicted to need round the clock care by 2030, failure to act will create unsustainable pressure on the NHS and leave people struggling to cope without the support they desperately need to live independently.

Ahead of this month’s Budget, the Commission has written to the Chancellor George Osborne asking him to take urgent action to ensure a sustainable funding settlement for housing, health and social care.  In addition, the Commission is calling on the government to:

  • introduce the concept of tenancy in care homes so that people do not pay ‘hotel costs’ but rent, alongside service charges and care fees
  • introduce a new responsibility for the Office for Budget Responsibility to conduct a five-yearly, 20-year projection of demand for housing and care services
  • invest more in the care workforce to ensure this vital workforce is properly remunerated and trained, and
  • ensure all new homes are built to Lifetime Homes standards and ten per cent are fully wheelchair accessible so that people have a real choice around where they live.

Media enquiries

Leonard Cheshire Disability is distributing this press release on behalf of the Commission on Residential Care, chaired by Rt Hon Paul Burstow MP.

For further information please contact Theresa Hart on 020 3242 0290 (out of hours on 07903 949 388). For information related to Paul Burstow please contact Natasha Kutchinsky, Senior Researcher, Office of Paul Burstow MP on 07958 992580/020 7219 1105.

Notes to editors

  1. Please contact Theresa Hart for case studies illustrating innovative Housing with Care, including:

    • Georgie, 24, who lives in her own flat at Springfield, a Leonard Cheshire Disability housing with care service in Bromley where residents live in individual flats and bungalows with care and support available on site.
    • Chris, 97, who lives in at an Anchor housing with care service for older people in Southampton. Having been a sports instructor with the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), the women's branch of the British Army, she still has a passion for sports, something she is able to enjoy because of the person-centred support she receives.
  2. The Commission on Residential Care Symposium ‘A vision for care fit for the twenty-first century’ takes place on Monday 2 March at 1730 at Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre, City University London, Northampton Square, London, EC1V 0HB. Registration via the City website: http://www.city.ac.uk/events/2015/march/commission-on-residential-care-symposium
  3. The Demos Commission on Residential Care, chaired by Rt Hon Paul Burstow MP, was set up to develop a new and updated vision of residential care which reflects the needs, preferences and lifestyles of the 21st century. The year-long Commission which reported in September 2014, brought together experts in care and those who provide it, to explore the future of housing with care for both disabled and older people. The Commission’s report can be accessed at: www.demos.co.uk/projects/corc. CORC Commissioners:

    • Rt Hon Paul Burstow MP (Chair of the Commission)
    • Clare Pelham - Chief Executive, Leonard Cheshire Disability
    • Des Kelly OBE - Executive Director, National Care Forum
    • Jane Ashcroft CBE - Chief Executive of Anchor
    • Dr Chai Patel CBE - Chairman, HC-One
    • Professor Julienne Meyer CBE - Executive Director of My Home Life and Professor of Nursing and Care for Older Adults, City University London
    • Simon Arnold - UK and Ireland Managing Director, Tunstall Healthcare
    • Richard Jones CBE - Executive Director of Adult and Community Services, Lancashire County Council (on secondment to NHS England in Lancashire)
    • Guy Geller - Managing Director, Sunrise Senior Living UK

    The Commission’s final report made recommendations on all aspects of housing with care including how:

    • housing with care should be funded
    • local councils and the NHS can encourage better provision of care through their commissioning and procurement decisions
    • we can better value the people who work in housing with care
    • to ensure that care is always in line with what people want as well as being high quality and safe.
  4. 450,000 older and working-age disabled people currently live in residential care (Demos, 2014).
  5. Research undertaken by Leonard Cheshire Disability found that 1 in 10 people in Great Britain report some kind of mobility problem. ComRes interviewed 2,006 GB adults aged 18+ online between the 4 and 6 June 2014; including 238 who self-identified as having a mobility impairment. Data were weighted to be representative of all GB adults aged 18+. Extrapolation was based on the Census 2011 data (47,754,569 people aged 18+ in Great Britain). Overall this equates to 5 million people who are likely to need disabled-friendly homes. www.leonardcheshire.org/hometruths