The ‘precarious’ state of adult social care in England has been laid bare following the publication of a report which found that one in five care services was not up to scratch.
The report, published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), is based on findings from inspections carried out by the regulator from 2014 to 2017.
The CQC conducted more than 33,000 inspections of around 24,000 services including residential care homes, nursing homes, specialist colleges, domiciliary care services and supported living schemes in England.
While almost four out of five services were assessed as being either “good” or “outstanding” overall, nearly a fifth – 19% – were rated “requires improvement,” while 2% – 343 services – were rated “inadequate”.
The regulator has warned that social care is in a “precarious” state.
Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the CQC, said: “There is still too much poor care, some providers are failing to improve, and there is even some deterioration.
“It appears to be increasingly difficult for some providers to deliver the safe, high quality and compassionate care people deserve and have every right to expect. With demand for social care expected to rise over the next two decades, this is more worrying than ever.
“Last October, CQC gave a stark warning that adult social care was approaching a tipping point. This was driven by more people with increasingly complex conditions needing care but in a challenging economic climate, facing greater difficulties in accessing the care they need.
“While this report focuses on our assessment of quality and not on the wider context, 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.”
Inspectors making unannounced visits to care homes found medicines being administered unsafely, alarm calls going unanswered and residents not getting help to eat or use the toilet. Some residents were found to have been woken up by night-shift care workers, washed and then put back to bed, apparently to make life easier for staff.
State spending on social care has been cut by a cumulative £6 billion in England since 2010. Amid growing concern that the system was close to breaking point, the government announced last autumn that an emergency injection of £2 billion of funding would be invested over three years.
Jackie Doyle-Price, the minister for social care, said: “While this report shows that the vast majority of people receive ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ adult social care, it is completely unacceptable that standards in some settings are below those rightly expected by care users and their families.”
How can Gotelee help?
The final years of someone’s life should be enjoyed with dignity, comfort and respect.
We entrust care homes with the crucial responsibility of looking after our most vulnerable loved ones – and, in the main, they do a fine job. However, the CQC’s report raises doubts over the overall effectiveness of the service.
If one of your elderly friends or relatives has been let down by the system, we can assess your case and advice on the best course of action.
By taking legal action, you could secure compensation as well as ensuring lessons are learned and mistakes are not repeated.
To find out we can help you, contact Tim Humpage on 01473 298122 or at [email protected], or, alternatively, visit us at one of our offices in Ipswich, Hadleigh, Felixstowe, Woodbridge or Melton.