Elderly people are playing “Russian roulette” when choosing a care home, charities have warned amidst a damning new report.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) found that of 4,000 nursing homes, 32 per cent have been rated ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ – effectively failing their inspection.
It means that almost one in three homes are providing a scant and unsafe level of care to the most vulnerable members of society.
A further 37 per cent have been told they must improve safety.
The care watchdog said poor leadership and staff shortages meant residents in a quarter of care homes are going weeks without being cleaned, left hungry, and are served dangerous levels of medication.
It also found that around a third of staff left their posts within a year.
The audit comes as new figures reveal that the number of people with dementia in England and Wales is set to rise to 1.2 million by 2040. The CQC said the Government must pay “urgent attention” to social care to avert a future crisis.
Age UK charity director Caroline Abrahams said: “It really is a life or death service for many older people.
“To feel that you have got the chance of being in a care home or having care at home or being in a nursing home that just isn't good enough.
“And where perhaps medicines being administered isn't safe enough means that older people and their families are facing very difficult choices.
“It is a sort of Russian roulette.”
Inspectors have successfully prosecuted five care providers and a further 1,000 have had enforcement action taken against them, the report says.
Chief inspector Andrea Sutcliffe said: “There is still too much poor care, some providers are failing to improve, and there is even some deterioration.
“This is completely and utterly unacceptable.”