One MP suggests NHS land should be used to build homes for older people

  • A former care minister has said that spare NHS land should be used to build homes dedicated for older people.

    Paul Burstow, a Lib Dem MP, has said that retirement villages and adapted flats were needed alongside traditional homes, after his review of residential care. The review also suggest planning rules to be relaxed and discounted prices offered to encourage investment, reports the BBC. /images/careandsupport.jpg

    In return care providers could be asked to contribute to council care, which could be done by setting quotas for the proportion of new complexes set aside for state-fundd care.

    About 450,000 people in England live in residential care homes, but the numbers living in adapted housing known as extra care apartments or retirement complexes are much smaller.

    Mr Burstow said this needed to change as the term residential care had become "fatally damaged" by recent scandals about abuse and neglect in homes.

    He said another solution to help care homes would be to offer residents "tenancy rights" when they move into the homes to give them more influence in how the homes are run.

    "As we are living longer lives, housing with care is going to become increasingly important in helping us stay independent, happy and healthy. It is vital that government wake up to this reality sooner rather than later and helps create the right incentives to ensure older and disabled people have a genuine choice when they need to move."

    Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said he felt what was being done was appropriate.

    "We agree that the NHS can make better use of surplus land. That is why we have a programme to identify and sell surplus land."

    Age UK charity director Caroline Abrahams said: "Ensuring all new housing can be easily adapted would save the country millions and help end the nonsense of older people lingering for long periods in hospital, simply because of delays in fitting adaptations like grab rails and ramps."

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