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Social care straining at the seams

The State of Care report released by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) confirms that care homes are closing and home care providers are handing back contracts because they cannot viably deliver them, but how have its findings been received by some of the organisations that work in the sector.

The Independent Care Group says the report cannot come as a surprise.Chair Mike Padgham says: “The report shows that the system is failing. We have 200,000 more people going without the care they need because homes are closing and home care providers cannot deliver the service for the price being paid.

“In 2017 we have 1.2 m of our most vulnerable people not getting the care they deserve to give them a proper quality of life with dignity, compassion and independence and that is a scandal. We need action to stop the crisis in staff recruitment – there are 90,000 social care staff vacancies – and to give staff proper reward for doing a tough, challenging job.

“We must address the funding of social care in this country as a matter of urgency or we face a real crisis. There is a real danger of a two-tier care system where people relying on publicly-funded care cannot get the care they need in their home town.”

The CQC report says there are 4,000 fewer nursing home beds than there were in 2015 and it concludes: “The future of care for older people and the adult care system is one of the greatest unresolved public policy issues of our time.”

Also commenting on the report, Professor Martin Green OBE, chief executive of Care England, says: “This is the second year in a row that the chief inspector at CQC has had to outline the precarious state of social care to Parliament. Parliament can ill afford to ignore the warnings from CQC; there is an urgent need for a long term funding settlement that will reach the frontline and support sustainable quality services”.  

CQC published its state of health and adult social care report in England 2016/17 on 10 October. This report is CQC’s annual assessment of health and social care in England and looks at the trends, highlights examples of good and outstanding care and identifies factors that maintain high quality care.

Care England has been triangulating a range of publically available intelligence to consider how well local systems are working and it welcomes this updated narrative and data from CQC across all sectors. Professor Green continues: “There is a lot of uncertainty in the sector and by dragging its heels on the social care green paper, Government simply cannot abdicate responsibility for those in need of care, especially those funded by local authorities.  

NCF executive director, Vic Rayner says: “Against a back drop of the most challenging times the sector has ever faced it is encouraging to see an increase in the number of adult social care services that are rated as 'good'. The increase from 71 per cent to 78 per cent is a credit to the registered managers and staff who work in the sector seeking to provide the best outcomes for people using services.

"Staff continue to prioritise relationships and person centred practice. However, as the CQC has recognised in its report, the stresses and strains on the system, on people using services and on the staff cannot be sustained. The National Care Forum calls on the present government to demonstrate effective leadership and work in partnership with people using services, carers, providers and commissioners to ensure there is an informed and responsive solution to the crisis facing ASC.“ 

She adds: “The CQC report rightly highlights the complexities of integration, and NCF welcomes the increased focus on driving forward quality across the system, as well as within individual services. Urgent progress is required to stop people receiving fragmented services that do not meet their needs. High quality, effectively funded and sustainable adult social care is good for people and good for the NHS.” 

Margaret Willcox, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), continues: “While the extra £2 billion funding for adult social care is welcome, this is only short-term. Without a long-term, sustainable solution for adult social care, there will be worrying consequences for the fragile care market, the NHS and, most importantly, for older and disabled people, their families and carers who need and deserve good, reliable and personal care.

“The Government should bring forward its forthcoming consultation process on the future of adult social care, which ADASS stands ready to engage in, to help establish a better social care system that is fit for the 21st century.”

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