Inspectors recognise health and care gap

Social care has fundamental differences from health services that must be taken into account in the government’s wider review of regulation in the sectors, the Commission for Social Care Inspection has said.

In its response to the review, published this week, the CSCI points out that independent providers account for a far bigger chunk of the social care sector than is the case in health.

Around 90 per cent of residential care and more than 60 per cent of domiciliary care are now provided by the independent sector, it says, but the independent health care sector only equates to 7 per cent of the NHS budget.

And while the health service is a “largely managed system” with accountability upwards from hospitals and primary care trusts, it says all councils are local bodies that are democratically accountable to their communities.

The commission also suggests that some council social care functions that are not covered by the regulatory framework, such as assessments of need and “brokerage” support, could be granted “licences to operate”, such as those given to mainstream care providers.

And it says the new “super inspectorates” planned by the government, including those for health and for children and learners, should be placed under a statutory duty to co-operate with each other.

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