The Quality of Care and Costs of Care Homes across the UK
Revealing the Quality of Care and Costs of Care Homes across the UK
Approaching your twilight years can be a daunting prospect for people for a number of reasons, bringing with it worries about health, money, and achieving goals you set for yourself when you were younger. However, one of the biggest concerns people have about entering later life is the possibility of going into a care home.
There are many care home groups across the UK that boast an excellent reputation when it comes to the quality of care they offer, however, there is still a considerable number where improvements can be made when it comes to standards of practice.
With this in mind, The Quality of Care Report by the experts at Radar Healthcare was created, to discover which UK cities boast the best quality of care for later life. We were able to reveal these statistics by taking a seed list of 25 of the largest UK cities (judged by investment strength) and assessing the quality of care homes in each location.
Aspects such as fees, nursing care, how many care homes there were in each city, the number of homes with excellent ratings, the homes that specialised in dementia care, and more, were considered to produce the final numbers within this report. Keep reading to find out more.
Mapped: The Best Cities in the UK for Care Homes
First up, we analysed the best locations in the UK for care homes – and taking the top spot was Birmingham, with a score of 72/100. This was achieved due to surprisingly low weekly fees of £597, allowing them to score a staggering 19/20 in this section. With 197 care homes in the area overall, causing them almost to obtain full marks with 9/10 in this category. Birmingham also had an impressive 145 care homes that were rated either ‘good’ or above by the appropriate regulatory body, scoring them 9/10 in this section as well.
In second place was London, receiving 69.5/100 overall – a remarkably similar score to the location in first place. As London is renowned for being very expensive, it is no surprise that they received a fairly average 15.5/20 when it came to the finance category.
While their weekly costs of £744 were not as high as some of the other cities, this still allowed Birmingham to slip into first place. Interestingly, London scored full marks when it came to the number of care homes in the city, with a whopping 421. However, this could be due to Birmingham having a lower population density. London also received full marks (10/10) regarding care homes with ‘good’ or above scores for care quality, highlighting that finances are the main areas that need to be evaluated.
Up in third place was Nottingham, with an overall ranking of 67.5/100. This respectable score was contributed to by the city’s very reasonable number of care homes (172) which allowed them to receive 8.5/10 in this category. They were also revealed to boast 119 care homes with scores of ‘good’ or above for their quality of care, leaving them with 8/10 for this section. 113 of those homes specialise in dementia care, which led to a score of almost full marks (9/10) for this segment.
Care Home Costs: Revealing the most and least cost-effective UK cities
The weekly, monthly, and annual fees for care homes differ greatly throughout the country. This is based on all sorts of factors, such as the facilities available, the amenities, activities on offer (for example, does the care home have a minibus for day trips?), the quality of the food provided, and much more.
With this in mind, we have broken down the average fees for care homes in each city we analysed, allowing us to reveal the ones that are the most and least cost-effective. These numbers focus on the weekly, monthly, and yearly costs for care homes that do not provide nursing services.
Top 5 Most Affordable
The most cost-effective care homes in the UK, on average, were revealed to be situated in Manchester. This was based on average weekly care home fees of £542, monthly fees of £2,168, and annual fees of £26,016.
As the average salary in Manchester is around £37,284, fees of this kind are arguably very fair and realistic – especially when taking into account double-income households and the pension of the person going into the care home. In joint first place was Liverpool, which received exactly the same score as Manchester.
The second-most cost-effective city for care homes was disclosed to be Newcastle, with weekly fees of £574, monthly fees of £2,296, and annual fees of £27,552. As Newcastle only has 69 care homes overall, the fees could be higher due to more demand and less room for people requiring care.
As Newcastle’s 2023 population was recorded to be a whopping 823,000, it is no wonder the city scored a poultry 4.5/10 for this category. In joint-third place were Birmingham, Coventry, and Stoke, all with weekly average fees of £597, monthly fees of £2,388, and annual fees of £28,656.
Top 5 Least Affordable
At the other end of the spectrum, we were able to report the least cost-effective cities in the UK when it came to care home fees. The most expensive care homes in the UK were revealed to be situated in Hull, which had average weekly care home fees of £943, monthly fees of £3,771, and annual fees of £45,250.
With an almost £10,000 leap from the most cost-effective cities for care homes, it is no wonder that Hull came in 18th place overall when it came to analysing the general quality of care for later life in the city.
In joint-second place were Sheffield, Bradford, and Leeds, each with weekly fees of £810, monthly fees of £3,240, and annual fees of £38,880. Despite falling flat when it came to finances, it is still interesting to see the gap between the fees for care homes in Hull and those in Sheffield, Leeds, and Bradford.
As the city of Hull has an annual average salary of only £17,799.96, fees are astronomical in comparison. Hull also only received 5.5/10 when it came to care homes with ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ care quality ratings, suggesting that there are improvements to be made when it comes to later-life care.
High staff turnover can be incremental to an organisation’s service and reputation. It can lead to lower levels of patient satisfaction, increase the number of risks to both employees and service users, and make meeting CQC (Care Quality Commission), Care Inspectorate (CI), and Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) standards even more challenging.
The care industry is extremely valuable to our economy, contributing over £50bn to the UK economy and equating to 5% of all employment. It is vital for the wellbeing of the ever-growing and ageing population that high turnover rates are minimised. Perhaps, this is the reason why we are seeing such high care home fees. If a care home is offering the best quality of care, they will likely attract and retain staff which is valuable for the residents.
Revealing the average cost of weekly, monthly, and annual private nursing care homes across the UK
Arguably, one of the most important aspects of care homes is knowing somebody with medical expertise is on hand in case anything should happen.
This is especially important when looking after people who are slightly older, as they are more prone to injuries and illnesses. With this in mind, we took it upon ourselves to look into the most and least cost-effective locations that had care facilities with nurses available.
Top 5 Most Affordable
First up was Newcastle, hailed as the most cost-effective city for nursing homes, with weekly fees of £716 (on average), monthly fees of £2,864, and annual fees of £34,368.
It is unsurprising to see that the fees are noticeably higher than those for care homes without nurses, as medical professionals will be able to perform procedures and examinations that a care worker could not.
Nursing homes are available for people with complex additional needs, so the fees are guaranteed to be higher. Hull, Sheffield, Bradford, and Leeds were up next in second, all of which had weekly fees of £810, monthly fees of £3,240, and annual fees of £38,880.
Top 5 Least Affordable
The cities with the least cost-effective nursing homes were Brighton, Reading, and Portsmouth, all charging around £1,019 weekly, £4,076 monthly, and £48,912 annually. This is fairly unsurprising, considering that Brighton is one of the most expensive cities in the UK – with some statistics highlighting that, in some respects, it is more expensive than London.
Reading is more surprising, as a recent article highlighted that it was one of the top three least expensive cities to live in during the cost of living crisis. Portsmouth is also one of the cheapest places to live in the UK – attracting hundreds of students each year because of this – making this ranking, again, unexpected.
Which cities have the most care homes and boast the most impressive number vs rating ratio?
Next up, we delved into the cities that had impressive ratios between the number of care homes they had and how good their ratings were – but which cities came out on top? London was at the top of the list when it came to having the most care homes, with a very respectable 421.
As well as this, we were able to reveal that 326 of those homes were ranked as ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by the Care and Quality Commission (CQC). This left London with an overall ratio of good care homes to how many homes they had of 77%. As London has a very high population of people, this is to be expected.
In second place for the most care homes was Birmingham, with 197 care homes and 145 of them with exceptional scores for their quality of care. This left Birmingham with an overall ratio of 74% – very similar to that of London, despite having significantly fewer homes.
Nottingham came in third, with an overall score of 172 care homes. Out of these homes, 119 of them were ranked highly by inspectors, giving this city a reputable ratio of 69%. However, despite these locations boasting the most impressive numbers of homes, it was Bristol that took the top spot when it came to the most admirable ratio – 87%. This was achieved because, out of its 146 care homes, a staggering 127 were ranked as outstandingly good. Sheffield (82%) snatched the second-highest ratio, as out of 104 care homes, 85 of them were rated as being remarkable.
With the CQC, CI, and CIW working to inspect and monitor UK health and social care services and ensuring that welfare standards are high, and rules are being adhered to. Technology can be a great way of managing and maintaining employee records, training, appraisals, supervisions, and compliance requirements. This will highlight that an organisation values its individual workers and is invested in supporting and retaining them.
Therefore, managing everything in one system helps to ensure that your workforce is well informed, encourages better communication, and helps both management and staff stay up to date.
Dementia Care: Revealing which cities in the UK are the best for care homes specialising in dementia care
Finally, we analysed the number of homes in the UK that specialised in dementia care. Dementia is an umbrella term, and diseases such as Alzheimer’s come underneath it. It refers to slowly or rapidly losing your ability to remember crucial information – even factors such as who you are or where you live.
It can be vascular, while it can also cause issues with speech and movement. As it impacts day-to-day life so severely, it is crucial that care homes know the signs to look out for, as well as have staff members who specialise in caring for people with the disease.
London was in first place once again with 242 care homes specialising in dementia care. As there are currently around 944,000 living with dementia in the UK alone, it is refreshing to see so many establishments taking these numbers as seriously as they should be. In joint-second place were Birmingham and Nottingham with 113 dementia-specialising care homes, while Leicester followed closely behind with 96.
Very often, people suffering from dementia will forget how to perform tasks that allow them to maintain a high standard of living, such as washing themselves, knowing how to boil the kettle, how to fry an egg, and so on. Some people with very advanced stages of the disease may need 24-hour care in order to ensure their own safety. Maintaining high numbers of dementia-specialising homes is of paramount importance for these reasons, as well as the fact that the number of people with dementia is set to increase rapidly over the next few decades.
How will the new CQC strategy bring positive change to your care organisation and improve the quality of care?
This year is a big one for the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Towards the end of last year, the CQC announced its plans to adapt its strategy to be more people-focused and began rolling out the new assessment framework throughout several organisations across the country. And now the new approach is fully underway, but how can you and your teams utilise the new framework to improve quality of care?
Mark Harrison, Customer Success Lead at Radar Healthcare highlights what to expect in the new CQC framework and best practices to improve the quality of care:
“Although the way CQC regulators assess and work alongside organisations has changed, the CQC’s primary purpose, values, and roles will not. The CQC still aims to: “make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.
“The pandemic highlighted the real need for a more flexible and reactive model. Therefore, the new model aims to reflect this by applying a single assessment framework that connects registration activity to assessments.
“It sets out to be simpler and easier to complete, to allow more time to focus on people, and better reflect real-life needs and experiences, whilst tackling some of the current challenges faced in health and social care.”
What will the new single assessment framework look like?
- Moving away from multiple assessments to one single assessment framework to reduce duplication and simplify the process of collecting evidence
- The quality ratings and the five key questions will remain central to the approach (e.g. “Is your service safe, effective, responsive, well-led, and caring?”)
- Key Lines of Enquiries (KLOEs) will be replaced with Quality Statements (or ‘we statements’) to focus on specific topic areas within each key question
- To coincide with a more people-focused approach, there will be six new evidence categories: people’s experiences, feedback from staff and leaders, observations of care, feedback from partners, processes, and outcomes of care
Mark adds: “The key to being inspection-ready is preparation and having the right tools to support you. Inspections can be daunting and stressful, but with the right processes and technology in place, they don’t have to be.
“First and foremost, you and your teams need to understand what it is each regulatory body is expecting from you (whether that be the Care Quality Commission, the Care Inspectorate, or the Care Inspectorate Wales) and then you can define how you evidence this in practice. Digital transformation solutions, like Radar Healthcare, can be an easy way to help collate, document, and organise evidence while continuing a culture of continuous improvement for care providers.”
Methodology and data sources:
The Quality of Care Report by the experts at Radar Healthcare discovers which UK cities boast the best quality of care for later life.
Taking a seed list of 25 of the largest UK cities by investment strength, the report reveals the best UK city for care homes relating to the following in order to assess the best cities for later life care:
- Average cost of private care home fees – the average weekly, monthly, and yearly care home fees
- Average cost of Private care home Fees (with nursing care) – the average cost of weekly, monthly, and yearly care home fees
- Number of care homes in each city
- Number of care homes rated Good or above by the regulation body
- Ratio of care homes rated good and above
- Number of Care homes in each UK city specialising in Dementia care
- Average monthly and yearly salary in each UK city
- Average monthly cost of living costs – Single person without rent