NCA Urges CQC To Speak Out On Care Underfunding

Silence_CareFor the first time since the introduction of tougher more rigorous ratings criteria, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) publishes its Annual Analysis into the quality of social care in England. The National Care Association comments: It is heartening to note that despite the increasingly challenging circumstances recognised by the report, the majority of services across social care have been rated as good, with some rated as outstanding.

Although CQC has not finished inspecting all providers, in adult social care nearly six out of ten services are rated good or outstanding with the number of services rated as either good or outstanding suggesting most people are receiving safe, effective care. Among those providers rated as either good or outstanding, the CQC inspections identify strong leadership as a crucial factor, with more than 90% of those services also rated as good or outstanding for their leadership.

The National Care Association welcomes these ‘encouraging findings’ as further recognition of the advances in the quality of care within the social care sector and, speaking for its members, wholly endorses the CQC’s aims to identify areas of improvement and the Commission’s recommendations that ‘having the right number of staff in place with the right skills’ is the key to maintaining the outstanding care identified by the Report, which has found ‘dedicated staff working hard to treat people with care, compassion and dignity.’

Nadra Ahmed OBE  Executive Chairman of the National Care Association comments:

‘It is clear that care providers are making significant advances in the quality of care to meet CQC benchmarks despite the funding issues. Clearly, CQC recognises budgetary factors as influential in determining variations in care quality, urging more willingness by providers “to collaborate with partners across the local health economy”. We have predicted that the continued underfunding of social care by Local Authorities will trigger the systematic collapse of the independent social care market. In this regard, unless a meaningful collaboration “with partners across the local health economy” is a reality rather than the emollient abstraction of the Commission’s “vision”, the exodus of care homes from the sector could mean thousands of vulnerable, frail older people will not be able to access the care and support they need at a time when they are at their most vulnerable. Such an outcome would, in turn, create a pathway into the NHS, which the State can ill afford, resulting in hospital admissions for non-acute conditions. This is the reality that underlines the report and we would urge the CQC to use the information and knowledge they’ve amassed to support the sector to attain realistic funding, thereby encouraging the fulfilment by Local Authorities of the Government’s Manifesto Pledge vowing to “to give councils more flexibility to support local services.” Such a commitment would be a start towards a solution to the crisis.’