This week the health regulator has issued a stark warning to the care industry, by releasing figures which suggest 40 per cent of care homes for the elderly are failing to meet required standards. Andrea Sutcliffe, the Care Quality Commission’s chief inspector for adult social care, said that a third of social care facilities require improvement, with as many as seven per cent providing “inadequate” services.
In a piece written for the Telegraph, Ms Sutcliffe said: “There are concerns about safety and leadership and many nursing homes are struggling. There is too much variation – yes, nearly 60 per cent are good or outstanding, but a third require improvement and seven per cent are inadequate.”She added: “In this climate it is critical that responses from local services to financial pressures do not increase risks to people’s health, safety and well-being.”
The news comes just ahead of the Government’s spending review which will set department budgets for 2016-20. While funding for the NHS will be protected, there are fears that councils will see their grants substantially cut, putting increased pressure on funding for social care services that are paid for by local authorities.
Ms Sutcliffe warned that cuts in funding, rising costs and increased demand for care from a growing elderly population have already placed a huge strain on care homes and adult care services. “Providing good quality care needs adequate investment and funding. Adult social care should be valued by society in the same way as the NHS and other public services are,” she said, adding: “At its very best adult social has the potential to completely transform a person’s life, but at its worst it can damage people’s lives forever.”