This is the first time such focused analysis on a national scale has been possible, following the introduction of our new regulatory regime for adult social care in October 2014.
Since then, the CQC has carried out more than 33,000 inspections of around 24,000 different services, rating them as Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement or Inadequate overall and under five key questions – whether they’re safe, effective, caring and well-led – so that everyone is clear about our judgements.
These include residential homes, nursing homes, care in people’s own homes, Shared Lives schemes and supported living services. These are vital services for thousands of people, young and old, who may be living with a physical disability, learning disability, autism, dementia and/or mental health conditions.
The report finds that while the majority of adult social services are of a high quality and many are improving, too many people across England are receiving care in care homes and from home-care services that is not good enough.
Without a proper recognition of the importance of adult social care and a renewed commitment to quality, the numbers of people affected by poor care could increase and have a profound impact on their lives.
Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission, said: “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.
“Quality must be at the heart of the long term reform of social care in England. CQC will continue to keep its relentless focus on quality with regulation becoming more targeted, risk-based and intelligence-driven over the next few years. But we cannot do it alone. Everyone must play their part in making sure quality matters and that adult social care services provide care that we would all be happy to use.”
Responding to the report Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) said “This report provides a welcome, authoritative, contribution on the state of adult social care. At a time when the sector is being financially pushed to the brink, CQC’s assessments on the quality of care have never been so important.”
He goes on to say:
“The vast majority of services are good and this is a great credit to the sector’s workforce. But there remains considerable variation in quality across the market and it is unacceptable that some people find themselves exposed to poor and inadequate services. VODG is encouraging providers and commissioners to use CQC’s evidence to inform a continued step up in quality, and to share what works well across the sector.”