In October, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published its annual state of care report which found that 3,952 care services were rated as ‘requires improvement’ and more than 300 were rated as ‘inadequate’. That means that some 92,000 vulnerable people are receiving poor care and 16,000 people are receiving inadequate care.
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services finds that, by the end of this financial year, £6.3 billion will have been cut from adult social care budgets since 2010. The Health Foundation has also said that that six years of real-terms reductions in social care budgets have left 400,000 fewer people receiving essential help.
The State of Care report found that the number of nursing homes beds has fallen by 4,000 in two years. The number of people not getting support for their social care needs has also risen by 48 per cent since 2010 and the future quality of care has been described as ‘precarious’.
I believe the detail of this CQC report reveals evidence of the government’s inability to maintain health and care services at the standard which patients expect. Reductions in social care budgets since 2010 have caused problems of recruitment and retention of staff, which are at the heart of the poor care that is being reported.
At the General Election, the Labour Party manifesto promised an extra £8 billion to tackle the immediate funding gap in social care, including an additional £1 billion for the first year. This would ensure care staff are paid the National Living Wage and extend publicly funded social care to thousands of people.
Independent Age is working with Healthwatch England to improve the information available to help local people assess the quality of care homes.
The government must step in and give our health and care system the resources it needs to provide the best possible care. The Chancellor should use his budget in November to finally put the NHS on a secure financial footing for the long term.