A new study commissioned by Age UK confirms that one in seven older people in England can't access residential or home cares meaning that 1.4 million older people aren't receiving the care they need.

The charity claims that parts of the country have become 'care deserts', which means that older people can’t access residential or home care, regardless of whether they can pay for it or not. 

This is because local councils have been having their budgets squeezed for years, and they can no longer afford adequate care for their residents. Because of this, private care providers are finding it increasingly difficult to keep trading on the basis of council-funded places alone.

Too many care jobs and not enough people to fill them

But added to this, the number of vacancies for registered social care nurses has tripled between 2012/13 and 2017/18. There are too many care jobs and not enough people to fill them. In real terms, there are 8000 fewer nurses now than in 2012.

This lack of nurses means vast sections of the country are suffering from a shortage of care providers, and many older people have to travel a long way to get the care they need.

Although there's been a slight national rise in the total number of beds over the past five years, some local areas, like Hull, have lost more than a third of their nursing home beds in the past three years.

The study carried out by Incisive, an independent health consultancy, looked into some contrasting areas of the country so we could understand more about local factors and how they help shape the market for care.

The situation across the country was wildly different, but each place showed a cause for concern, whether that was a chronic lack of care now or the risk of losing care workers following Brexit.

Care market is broken and chaotic

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK says: "This new report shows how chaotic and broken the market for care has become after years of underfunding and the absence of determined Government action to ensure the right workforce is in place.

"The end result is laid bare by the authors – the emergence of care deserts and a deeply worrying lack of nursing home places, in particular, leaving some of our most vulnerable older people high and dry. It would be hard to exaggerate how serious the implications of this report are for older people, or indeed for the NHS, which is the place of last resort if no nursing home places are to be had."