Tyne & Wear

Northumberland care homes 'unable' to sign new council contracts

Care homes
Image caption Close House Care Home in Hexham is considering taking residents from outside the area

More than half of Northumberland's care homes have not signed contracts with the county council in a row over money.

Thirty seven out of the 69 in the county have refused to sign up with the authority.

They say the council does not pay enough for them to provide good care and they cannot offer more places to residents funded by the council.

The council said it was facing increasing costs because of the rapid rise in the number or elderly people.

Judith Robson, manager at Close House Nursing Home in Hexham, said: "There's just rising costs in every department. We had 18 inquiries for one bed from distressed families wanting to place a family member here.

"Unfortunately, because of the situation with the council, we weren't able to take any of them. We are going to have to take people out of the area or private paying people."

Currently elderly people with savings or property worth less than £23,250 can get help to pay for care, but the rates councils pay each week varies.

Newcastle Council pays £535 per resident per week to homes; Sunderland pays £529; and Northumberland £491 - although this figure is increasing to £506.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites