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Care watchdog warns over financial pressures on adult services

The quality and safety of care services for older and disabled people in England risks being undermined by financial pressures, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has warned

The quality and safety of care services for older and disabled people in England risks being undermined by financial pressures, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has warned.


In its annual assessment of care in England, the CQC will also warn ministers of the
impact of deteriorating social care on the NHS. Picture: PA Wire

Data gathered by the CQC showed the number of care homes has fallen dramatically as providers struggle with rising costs, including the introduction of the living wage and the tightening of local council budgets.

The regulator is expected to raise its concerns in Parliament tomorrow as part of its annual State Of Care report. The CQC will argue that with an ageing population, vulnerable older and disabled people could be left with nowhere to go.

Quality and safety of care 

In its annual assessment of care in England, the CQC will also warn ministers of the impact of deteriorating social care on the NHS.

CQC chief inspector of adult social care Andrea Sutcliffe commented on an internal report which, analysing data from 39 large providers, revealed how capacity in the social care sector was shrinking.

‘We know that the adult social care sector faces many financial pressures which, worryingly, could undermine the quality and safety of care that people receive and rely upon every day,’ she said.

‘Historic’ underfunding

The memo showed an 8% fall in the number of care homes in the last 6 years, from 18,068 in September 2010 to 16,614 in July 2016.

The number of nursing homes increased marginally, from 4,387 to 4,623, but the number of residential homes fell from 13,681 to 11,991, equating to more than 1 in 10.

The report said the analysis showed ‘a local authority-funded service user problem. Notwithstanding recent fee increases, the historic level of underfunding remains, and in some cases has probably increased as a result of the national living wage.’

Sustainability risk

Ms Sutcliffe said the figures highlighted a concern that the long-term sustainability of high-quality care within the sector could be at risk.

‘Given the impact this would have on people’s lives, it is important we continue to monitor these trends closely,’ she added.

The CQC is due to present its State Of Care report to Parliament, weeks after one of the country’s biggest not-for-profit providers of care in the community said it was pulling out of the market.

Organisation to close

Housing And Care 21 was working with 150 local authorities to provide care for older and disabled people, amounting to 35,000 hours of home care a week.

Chief executive Bruce Moore said it could no longer provide high-quality care with the funding it was allocated by local councils.

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