Adult social care is approaching “tipping point”, warns CQC

A report published today, Thursday 13 October, by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) highlights the fragility of the adult social care sector due to threefold pressures of escalating demand, access and cost.  

The health watchdog has warned that the sector is becoming unsustainable.

The report revealed that many services are struggling to make improvements following a poor rating. Almost half (47%) of providers that were re-inspected following a rating “requires improvement” were not able to raise standards, while 8% of services deteriorated to “inadequate”.

Compiling evidence from their inspections, market oversight function, and external data, the CQC has raised the following concerns:

  • The number of available nursing home beds has stalled, despite rising demand, with no new beds in a year and a half
  • Adult social care providers handing back undeliverable contracts due to unmet fees and the impact of the national living wage
  • Squeezed local authority budgets, with 81% of councils spending less on adult social care in the past five years

Responding to this, Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer's Society, said

'This is the second warning in less than a month that social care is in dire straits. The CQC highlights a system unable to sustain itself, consequently failing many of the people with dementia it serves.'

'Each successive report echoes what we hear from people with dementia and their families – from the devoted husband who must choose between having a hot meal and paying his wife’s care home top-up fees, to the 94-year old grandmother in hospital with infections due to poor personal care.'

'With the NHS rising to the top of voters’ priorities, the knock-on effect from an underfunded social care system is clear. The NHS and social care go hand-in-hand – we cannot fix one if the other remains broken. Social care urgently needs a solid financial grounding before this entire house of cards falls.'

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