South Tyneside has lost dozens of its care home beds, amid warnings of 'chaotic and broken' system
South Tyneside has lost dozens of its care home beds over the last five years, new figures reveal.
Analysis of Care Quality Commission data shows that South Tyneside has lost 46 care home beds since 2014. There are now 1,217 in the area - a fall of 4 per cent .
Over the same period, the number of people aged 75 and older in South Tyneside has remained level, and is estimated 13,700 this year.
Across England, the number of beds has increased by 1.4 per cent, rising to 407,058. But 75 local authority areas have lost almost 10,000 beds between them, prompting concerns about regional inequalities across the adult social care sector.
Managing director of Retirement mortgage company Responsible Life, Steve Wilkie said: "If this trend isn't reversed, it is going to get even tougher to access care in certain areas in the coming years.
"For some, it will mean a lack of availability, and subsequently higher costs, and will force them to delay accessing the right care at the right time. The danger is that some retirees will inevitably choose to remain in homes that do not meet their requirements."
The availability of beds varies considerably in different parts of England, according to Responsible Life's analysis. Middlesbrough has the best, with 15.6 care home beds for every 100 residents aged 75 and over, while Westminster has the worst at just 2.5.
In South Tyneside, there are 8.9 care home beds for every 100 older residents. The national average is 8.5.
Age UK has criticised Government handling of adult social care, and said the system is "chaotic and broken" after years of underfunding.
A spokesperson for The Department of Health and Social Care said: "People must have access to high quality care that meets their needs. Local authorities have a duty to ensure people receive appropriate care and support.
"We have given them access to up to £3.9 billion more dedicated funding for adult social care this year, and a further £410 million is available for adults and children's services."