ONE in ten people will be unable to find a care home bed in five years’ time, new figures suggest.

Swindon needs an estimated 172 new care home places by 2022, according to analysis by a consumer group.

Researchers at Which? used trends provided by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission and official government population statistics.

Swindon currently has 9,000 people aged over 80 and 1,140 care home places in the town.

But the number of over-80s is expected to rise to 11,000 in just five years’ time. Currently, it is expected that there will be just seven new care home beds in 2022– compared to the 172 they say we need. It leaves Swindon with a 14 per cent shortfall.

The town sits mid-way down the Which? table of local councils, putting it on a par with Stockton-on-Tees and Leicestershire. There are 14 areas, including Devon, where the shortfall of care home beds is over 25 per cent.

Swindon care home bosses have spoken of growing demand.

James Dunn, owner of Grove Hill Care Home in Highworth, said that his home had always been full, but added: “I would say there are generally a lot more enquiries now.”

The care home manager of more than two decades said that residents’ needs were now more complex - with a particular growth in the number of patients suffering from dementia.

Sue Houldey, director of operations at Coate Water Care, which manages three homes in Swindon, said: “Nowadays, because the move is to leave people managing at home as long as possible, the needs of people coming into care are much greater.

“In terms of the complexity of people’s needs, it’s definitely increased.”

A Swindon Borough Council spokesman said: “The council is doing a great amount of work to ensure people receive the right kind of support, which will enable them to stay in their own homes for as long as possible.

“We continue to review and strengthen our bed base here in Swindon and part of our longer-term strategy is to replace Whitbourne House, which currently caters for 40 residents.

"Our future model will consider incorporating extra care options alongside residential and/or nursing.”

Which? - who commissioned this week’s research - warn that it can take up to seven years to plan, build and open a care home – making it hard to respond to growing need.

The organisation wants the Competition and Markets Authority’s current inquiry into the care home market to look at how provision differs between local areas.

The CMA is expected to publish its report in November.

Alex Hayman, Which? managing director of public markets, said: “It is vital that the Competition and Markets Authority looks at the potentially huge local disparities in provision, which could reach crisis point if nothing is done.”