Posted by Andrew Johnson, Solicitor
Crisis in social care – what can we learn from the Care Quality Commission’s annual report?
Whether you’re a provider of healthcare services or a member of the public deciding which doctor, dentist or care home to use, knowing that the service provision is ‘CQC compliant’ is fundamental. For the public, CQC ratings can help to reinforce trust in their existing healthcare provider or can help them to decide which provider to move or turn to in the first place.
For the healthcare provider, it means maintaining their reputation in the market and being able to retain existing patients or residents and to attract new ones. Failing to achieve the standard could prevent them operating altogether.
State of Care Report
The results of the CQC’s State of Care report last month therefore deliver a reassuring message that the majority of health and social care providers in England are performing well, receiving either a good or outstanding rating. However, the CQC’s report also highlights that there is a wide variation in the quality of care people receive and they have rated an alarming 7% of providers of acute, primary and adult social care as “inadequate” with safety being one of their key concerns.
Is underfunding to blame in the social care sector?
In the social care sector, some claim that the ratings scores used by the CQC rely too heavily on the subjectivity of each individual inspector and therefore paint a worse picture of the quality of care provided than is actually the case. Others have attributed the results for this sector to the local authority budget cuts that have been made during the past five years. These have undeniably placed a huge strain on social care services and the government’s planned introduction of the National Living Wage is expected to stretch limited resources even further. However, while the CQC is sympathetic to the cuts in funding that the sector has experienced, it claims that the variations in the quality of care can’t all be explained by this alone.
The future delivery of social care services
Whatever the true impact of social care funding cuts on the latest CQC results, the debate is set to continue with many fearing that the outcome of the government’s spending review won’t throw a financial lifeline to the sector. In addition, although the ratings system used by the CQC may not be perfect, any scoring system will have its shortcomings, and it looks like it’s here to stay for the time being in any event. The CQC therefore has an important role to play in highlighting levels of performance in the social care sector as well as the other healthcare sectors. However, the ability of social care providers to maintain the quality of care in the face of growing demand and reducing resources is undoubtedly reaching a crunch point.
How can Royds Withy King help?
Our team of healthcare experts can help you if you have any queries on the CQC requirements, whether that concerns your premises and equipment, your staffing obligations or otherwise.
If you would like to discuss CQC requirements, or any other healthcare and social care matter, please get in touch with our specialist Healthcare & Social Care team.
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