THE number of care home beds available for elderly people in Bracknell has fallen in the past five years, data reveals.

Figures from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) show Bracknell Forest has a 'care home crisis' with 15.1 per cent less care home beds available for older people in the Borough.

There were 444 beds available in 2014, in comparison to 377 in 2019, suggesting a sharp decline in numbers.

However, neighbouring authority Wokingham Borough has seen an 18.6 per cent increase, with 986 to 1,170 care home beds available for elderly people.

The findings from retirement mortgage experts Responsible Life, suggest older people are being left at the mercy of a 'postcode lottery', despite the overall number of beds increasing in the last five years.

In the past five years, the overall figure has increased from 401,322 to 407,058.

Steve Wilkie, managing director of responsible life, said: "The number of beds country-wide has actually gone up, so we know a drop in the number of beds in half of authorities is not part of a wider change in how people want to access care in later life. "In fact, what we are seeing is a postcode lottery unfold.

"If this trend is not reversed, it is going to get even tougher to access care in certain areas in the coming years." The UK population is ageing with around 18.2 per cent of people aged 65 or over in 2017 in comparison to 15.9 per cent in 2007.

This figure is expected to double by 2027 and more than a quarter of people in the UK will be aged 65 or over in the next 50 years.

Overall, the number of care homes in England has fallen from 11,113 in 2014 to 10,878 in 2019, declining in 86 out of 150 authority areas.

Steve added: "The danger is that some retirees will inevitably choose to remain in homes that do not meet their requirements.

"It is imperative that people consider all of their options and make informed choices well in advance."

Bracknell Forest Council have been approached for comment.