Adult social care faces 'tipping point'

6 Jul 17

Adult social care faces a tipping point with too many cases of poor service standards, the Care Quality Commission has warned.

In its report The State of Adult Social Care Services 2014 to 2017, the health watchdog said the majority of services were of a high quality with many improving, but “too many people are receiving care in care homes and from home-care services that is not good enough”.

This comes after umbrella-group The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services highlighted squeezed councils are struggling to meet the demand of adult social services care, although spend in this area is expected to increase by 1.3% from 35.6% in 2016-17 to 36.9% this year in England.

CQC chief inspector of adult social care Andrea Sutcliffe said: “With the deterioration we are seeing in services rated as ‘good’ together with the struggle to improve for those with ‘inadequate’ and ‘requires improvement’ ratings, the danger of adult social care approaching its tipping point has not disappeared.

“If it tips, it will mean even more poor care, less choice and more unmet need for people.”

The CQC launched its inspection framework for adult social care in October 2014, since when it has completed more than 33,000 inspections of around 24,000 care locations.

Almost 80% were rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding overall’, but 18% required improvement and 2% - equivalent to 343 locations - were ‘inadequate’.

Providers performed best on care and worst on whether services were safe and well led.

The best overall results were for community social care services, such as supported living, while nursing homes caused the greatest concern.

Charity Age UK said the results showed there was “a Russian roulette for care” and urged the government to invest more in these services.

The government promised a consultation to improve social care in the Queen’s Speech last month, after dropping the manifesto plan to ensure people with more than £100,000 of assets paid for their care.

The Conservative Party appeared to move away from that pledge after it did not secure a majority in last month’s general election.

Chancellor Philip Hammond promised an additional £2bn of funding for social care over the next three years in his Spring Budget.

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