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South West care homes could be missing out on money-saving opportunities says NatWest report

Care homes across the South West could be missing out on opportunities to save money through renewable energy according to NatWest’s Care Home Benchmarking Report.

The report is the first produced by the bank’s specialist healthcare team.

It looks to support SME care home businesses in identifying their performance in comparison to their peers, as well as potential ways to save money or generate more.

NatWest relationship director Steve Moore, who specialises in healthcare in Gloucestershire, said: “Energy stood out as the second most significant cost for care homes, behind staff.

“In the South West, where there’s typically more sunlight than in other areas of the UK, you might expect to see a significant take-up of solar power yet this is used in very few homes.

“Given the high sun levels there is scope for a number of care homes to consider solar power as a way of cutting their long-term energy costs and improving their profitability.”

According to results, less than three per cent of homes are using solar energy while 87 per cent relied on traditional gas.

The report assesses the performance of nearly 250 care homes across the South West of England, analysing data on fee rates and occupancy as well as energy spend, buildings and technology.

Mr Moore added: “On the whole, the SME care home market is in good shape.

“Compared with corporate rivals, the quality of care is every bit as good.

“However, SMEs might struggle on cost efficiency, long-term strategy and upgrading facilities, owing to a lack of time and cash.

“The region has the highest number of en-suite rooms compared to the rest of the country, which is a clear indication of quality.

“The number of local authority clients is also lower than the England average, while fee rates for private payers were around or above average.

“These are all good indicators of wealth in the region.”

The good quality of facilities suggests owners could look to charge more for their beds but that was reliant on demand.

The advice was that it was worth operators keeping a close eye on supply and demand levels in the region and looking for opportunities to increase fees accordingly.

To view the report - please click here.