Comment: Kind of care we receive is a big worry

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What kind of care we and our loved ones will receive as we get older is a big worry for us all. Everyone who reads today’s story about the growing care home and bed-blocking crisis in the Capital will be worried.

Three homes closed to new admissions following complaints about care standards and hundreds of patients who are fit to leave hospital left stuck on the wards because there is nowhere for them to go.

Sadly, mostly of this makes for depressingly familiar reading. How many times have we heard similar stories and always with a promise to tackle the problems?

The one reassurance that we can take from the latest problems is that the complaints system has teeth. While such serious complaints are deeply worrying, it is clear that the Care Inspectorate is no paper tiger.

It has, quite rightly, no qualms about raising concerns with homes and local authorities. And the city council is equally prepared to act decisively, banning homes from admitting new residents until their problems are sorted, despite the huge pressure to find extra care home beds.

Where there are cases of care falling below acceptable standards it is likely to be only a matter of time before they are highlighted and tackled.

It is easy to forget at times like this that there are many excellent care homes offering first-class care in the Capital.

The problems of bed blocking though are evidently less straightforward. It is not just a shortage of beds that is the trouble, or part of it, but a shortage of specialist ones where older people with the most complex problems can be properly looked after. These problems cannot be tackled overnight.

The city has had some success in the past. What that taught us is that only by focusing a lot of time and money can we hope to make progress on one of the biggest challenges facing the city today.