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CQC: Social care still in 'tipping point' danger

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One in five adult social care services are now sub-standard with providers finding it difficult to improve in challenging circumstances, the Care Quality Commission has warned.

In a report published yesterday, the CQC said strong leadership of care homes and domiciliary care provision had led to 79% of services being rated good or outstanding.

But it warned of “considerable variation” in the quality of services across the country.

The report represents the first national analysis of adult social care standards since the introduction of a new inspection regime in 2014.

It found the sector performed best in how ‘caring’ its services were, with 95% rated good or outstanding.

But the CQC has found the greatest concerns were over safety, with 25% of services rated ’requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’. Issues highlighted include processes for managing medicines, call bells not being answered, and home visits being rushed or missed.

The CQC warned last year that the adult social care system was reaching a tipping point due to a “challenging economic climate” and increased demand.

CQC chief inspector of adult social care Andrea Sutcliffe yesterday said this danger “had not disappeared”.

Reacting to the report, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Care Services Margaret Willcox said: “The risk of adult social care approaching its tipping point is still real and we will focus on re-doubling our mutual efforts to ensure that the quality of care doesn’t deteriorate and that older and disabled people and their families get the reliable, personal care they need and deserve.”

The LGA has withdrawn its support for the Better Care Fund planning guidance for 2017-19, after it required councils to use their allocations to help meet a target to reduce delayed transfers of care from hospital.

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