Home care providers across the country are pulling out of offering services in rural areas because they can’t recruit enough staff or afford mileage costs.
Agencies told BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today programme that its “unsustainable” to provide social care services to rural communities at rates that some councils currently pay.
This is due to a shortage of care workers and the high mileage costs for driving between villages.
One provider, whose council is cutting its rate next year, said it won’t take on any client who is living in a village under that new contract.
The owner of another care company, Hartley Home Care, which provides services for 160 people across a 2,000 square mile patch of Cornwall and parts of Devon, said he recognises these pressures.
Phil Hartley told the BBC Radio 4: “Currently in Cornwall, we have over 100 people who are assessed as requiring care at home, but can’t actually access it. This is a mixture of people who are currently in hospital and may be at home with unpaid carers whilst they wait for a care package to be available.
“The problem is, domiciliary care system is saturated, proving care for as many people as we possibly can, given the numbers of staff that we have and the terrain that we have to cover. Unfortunately, the only way of expanding our care provision capability is to recruit more staff and, although there are small numbers of staff all over the county coming into the sector, by no means is that enough for us to provide all the care in the unmet demand at the moment.”