The beds shortage in West Country care homes is reaching crisis-point, with families facing a nightmare trying to find accommodation for elderly relatives.
A survey by Which? magazine found that around 70% of care homes nationwide were full. But in the West Country the situation appears to be even more serious.
A Western Morning News poll of 50 care homes across Devon and Cornwall revealed that 86% had no spare bedspace. Most of those surveyed operate a waiting list and others said they had to reject up to five new clients a day.
Marcus Lyward, a residential care home owner near Bodmin, said he had turned away more than 100 people in the last month.
He said: “I’m offered five referrals a day and I can’t put any more names on the list because it isn’t fair to keep people in hope. I know of two homes nearby closing so even more beds will go.”
Many care homes in the area say Social Services simply do not pay enough per bed to make homes viable in light of tough new Government regulations.
Mike Austin, vice-chairman of the Residential Care Homes Association (RCHA) in Devon, said the regulations had forced many to shut their doors, making the crisis worse.