Service users could be put at risk by the financial pressure that the new joint health and social care regulator is likely to face, it is claimed.
The Commission for Social Care Inspection said the joint inspectorate, which will launch by 2009, was likely to operate on a “substantially smaller” budget than its predecessor bodies combined. The Healthcare Commission, the Mental Health Act Commission and CSCI itself will merge into the new body.
But in a government consultation response, CSCI said budget cuts over the next two years were likely to make it “immensely challenging” for CSCI and the Healthcare Commission to deliver their existing functions.
It added: “Adding further functions without additional resources makes this task even more problematic and potentially raises the level of risk significantly, particularly to people reliant on these services for their health and well-being.”
CSCI also warned that this year’s reforms to the national minimum standards should not be delayed by efforts to create a single set of standards for health and social care.
It added: “This review [of the minimum standards] should be progressed with some urgency: it is the key element of any new system seeking to place the wishes of people who use services at the centre.”