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This Key Note Market Report examines the UK market for the long-term care of the elderly, including residential care homes and nursing homes operated by local councils, private businesses and not-for-profit organisations (NPOs).
Despite an increasingly ageing population and a growing demand for care services, the UK residential care and nursing homes market has been significantly affected by the recent economic downturn and, specifically, the Government’s public spending cuts. The Comprehensive Spending Review of October 2010 set out a yearly reduction of 7% on local authority funding until 2014. Many local authorities have subsequently increased the threshold for eligibility for free adult social care.
Between 2006 and 2010, the long-term care market for elderly and physically disabled people grew by 14.9% to nearly £14bn. It continues to be dominated by the private sector, which accounted for 84.6% of the total long-term care market in 2010. Over the same period, the number of long-term care places provided by the public sector declined from 58,700 to 46,200.
The care homes sector is currently dominated by a small number of large companies, including Barchester Healthcare, BUPA and Sunrise Senior Living. Following the collapse of Britain’s largest care home operator, Southern Cross, Four Seasons subsequently became the largest care home company after acquiring 140 homes from Southern Cross in October 2011.
An exclusive survey on care and nursing homes commissioned by Key Note revealed that as many as 77.3% of respondents would only consider care or nursing homes as a last resort. This compares with 42.3% of those who said that they would be happy to live in a nursing or care home. Encouragingly, more than half of adults surveyed said that they believe nursing or care homes provide a good standard of care and that the majority of care homes are well run.
Despite short-term funding constraints, Key Note expects care homes to be a long-term growth market, as life expectancies are likely to continue to increase. This will also create further opportunities for businesses that offer specialist care for aged-related illnesses, and will increase demand for high-quality units. With this in mind, Key Note has forecast that the long-term care market will grow by 13.2% between 2011 and 2015 to reach £16.2bn.
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