Four in 10 care homes are below standard, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said.

Andrea Sutcliffe, chief inspector for adult social care at the CQC, has revealed that a third of social care services require improvement and seven per cent are inadequate.

Her comments come ahead of the Government’s spending review, which some fear will see social care budgets cut.

Local authorities, which pay for care homes, say that £4.6bn has already been slashed from the budget over the past five years.

This has led many to question whether it will be financially viable to deliver future care, with experts suggesting care homes will be forced to close by spring of next year.

“Concerns about safety”

Ms Sutcliffe said: “There is too much variation…in this climate it is critical that responses from local services to financial pressures do not increase risks to people’s health, safety and well-being.”

She added that there “are concerns about safety and leadership”, describing many nursing homes as “struggling”.

This raises the possibility of yet more care home scandals, of which there has been a number in the past few years.

This includes two care homes in Surrey which the CQC shut down last year.

It is claimed that residents were washed with cold water, the common areas smelled of urine and staff were not subject to criminal records checks.

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