One in six beds left vacant in some private Guernsey care homes despite high demand

  • ITV Channel's Kate Prout has been investigating why there are so many empty care home beds in Guernsey. Broadcast on Tuesday 7 May

One in six beds in some of Guernsey's private care homes are not being used.

It is thought that despite high demand, there are 40 empty rooms across the island.

Care home owner Martin Joyce says the issue is a backlog with the Needs Assessment Panel (NAPS), which decides on the type of care best suited to someone's needs.

Martin explains that some people stay in hospital for months while they wait for their needs to be met.

He adds: "What we're trying to urge the authorities to do is make an additional category which would be to give interim care to those who would otherwise be waiting in hospital for a home package.

"There's somebody in a hospital bed at present, who has waited for six months."

One Guernsey resident says the empty care home rooms are simply because beds are too expensive.

Anna Reeve has been caring for her 91-year-old mother for two years and describes how she would have to use her and her sister's savings to pay for a care home place like she did for her father.

She explains: "I suppose the difficulty is no one has a crystal ball. We knew that Dad was at end-of-life care but if you've got a condition that is going to ramble on and on then how many years is that going to be for?

"That's the difficulty, we might have to fork out for five or 10 years."

The States of Guernsey offers help for private care, with £609 a week for residential homes.

Everyone has to pay £327.32 weekly from individual pensions or assets - a flat fee that is not means-tested.

Chair of CareWatch, Bella Farrell, says: "There are lots of issues but fair access is one. It's very hard for me to think you might have a lot of assets and yet you would not pay fully for your care later on in life.

"Equally, if you don't have those assets. I can see why people would think I've worked all these years for my home and now I have to sell it for my care and that's tough for people too."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...