ALMOST one in five care homes in Scotland has closed its doors in the past decade while the number of residents has fallen by just 6%, new figures indicate.

Statistics published by Public Health Scotland on Tuesday showed the number of adult care homes dropped from 1,282 in 2013 to 1,037 in March 31 of this year.

The number of local authority care homes dropped by almost a third in the same period, from 199 to 137, while those in the voluntary or non-profit sector fell by 37% from 367 to 231.

Despite the sizeable fall in the number of care homes available, the estimated number of residents – as of March 31 – dropped by just 6% from 36,578 to 34,365.

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Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie criticised the Scottish Government, claiming the sector was “at breaking point”.

She said: “This collapse in care homes will deprive people of the local care they need and pile pressure on the rest of the social care system and the NHS.

“The sector have been sounding the alarm for years, warning that homes will continue to close if the Scottish Government fails to act.

“We need a national care service that is truly fit for purpose and is equipped for the challenges of an ageing population.

“The SNP must act now to prevent disaster and support care homes, workers and residents.”

The National: FIGURES: A care home resident being looked after (Picture: RADAR)

Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said the crisis “isn’t going away” and criticised the Scottish Government’s plans for the national care service.

“Those who know the sector best understand that as more homes shut their doors, more people struggle to access care close to home,” he said.

“The Government are bereft of solutions.

“Instead, SNP ministers are charging ahead with an ill-fated power grab that will utterly fail to address key problems. Their plans should be scrapped, not salvaged.

“Rather than wasting billions of pounds on a futile and centralising bureaucracy, Scottish Liberal Democrats want to see that money spent on delivering care services close to home, driving up the quality of care and rewarding staff with better pay, conditions and career progression.”

The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment.