MORE than a third of Swindon’s elderly care home residents live in homes ranked as ‘inadequate’ or ‘needing improvement’, a report has found.

Councillors say that those paying for care should expect “good service”.

Yet in Swindon, 35 per cent of beds are in care homes that have been slapped with inadequate or requires improvement ratings by watchdog the Care Quality Commission.

By contrast, 57 per cent of homes had outstanding or good CQC reports.

The report, by consumer group Which?, ranked all UK council areas by the proportion of care home beds in poorly performing homes.

Swindon ranked 42 out of 151 councils – posting a better performance than Wiltshire, and Bath and North East Somerset, where 42 per cent and 40 per cent of care home beds are in homes deemed by inspectors to be inadequate or requiring improvement.

Which? have warned that the current situation could rapidly worsen, as demand on care home places grows.

Alex Hayman, Which? managing director of public markets, said: “Having to choose a poor care home isn’t really making a choice at all, and it’s disturbing to know that so many people across the country are already in care homes that are clearly not good enough.”

Coun Brian Ford, cabinet member for adult social care, described the Which? break-down by councils as “slightly misleading”.

He said: “Swindon Borough Council only runs Fessey House and Whitbourne House. All the other care homes are privately-run and are overseen by the CQC.

“I am concerned about any care home that is not up to standard and the council will cooperate with the CQC where appropriate.

“While the council does commission beds from private providers, we always try to ensure that these are of the best quality possible.”

Councillor Ray Ballman, Labour’s shadow lead for adult social care, said: “I think it’s quite poor that we live in the area we live in and we can’t provide good quality care for the elderly.

“The majority of people will be paying for their care. It’s very expensive and for that you should be getting a good service. You should get value for money.

“What we should really be working hard on is keeping people at home and fit.”

The council last year spent more than £1m on kit like home alarms to help keep more than 2,500 people in their own homes.

Earlier this autumn, the Adver reported that by 2022 Swindon will face a 165 care home bed shortfall – leaving one in 10 people unable to find a care home place.

Sue Houldey, of care firm Coate Water Care, said that the medical needs of those arriving at their doors were becoming more complex.

“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,” she said.

Responding to the shortfall, a council spokesman said they were focussed of providing support that “will enable people to stay in their own homes for as long as possible”.