The Care Quality Commission published its annual performance assessment of local authority adult social care today, along with a report looking at how care providers are doing against CQC’s quality ratings system and the national minimum standards.
The reports showed improvements for local authorities and providers, but also raised concerns over poor performance in a number of areas and services.
Here are some of the reactions from sector bodies:-
Co-director Barbara McIntosh raised concerns about the lack of improvement among care homes for younger adults, where progress was slower than for those providing care for older people.
She said: ““It is a worry that little improvement has been seen in the quality of care offered to younger adults, particularly regarding staff supervision and the development of individual plans. Everybody should be given choice and control over their own care and support, particularly those who have complex needs, who can be overlooked. All providers need to make a concerted effort to improve on this.”
Director of communications Benet Middleton said he was concerned about the absence of autism services from the report.
He said: “We are extremely frustrated and disappointed that the performance of autism services has not been measured within this report. With almost two thirds of adults with autism telling us they do not have enough support to meet their needs we know that thousands simply are not able to enjoy the same rights, freedoms or quality of life as the rest of society. Assessments such as this are hugely important in driving an improvement in the quality of services and yet again people with autism have been overlooked.”
Chief executive Stephen Burke said the report revealed the need for further action.
He said: “The Care Quality Commission’s report shows that despite some improvement overall, the standard of care experienced by many vulnerable older people living in care homes in England still remains completely inadequate.
“It also shows how far we still have to travel before full transformation of the social care system is achieved, and a place is reached where we can confidently state that when an older person is being supported in a care home to manage their complex care needs, the quality of care they will receive will always be of the highest possible standard.
“More work needs to be done by local councils and care providers to ensure that personalised services become a reality for all older people and carers regardless of whether they live at home or in a care home, including access to good information and advice.”
Action on Elder Abuse
Chief executive Gary Fitzgerald expressed concern at the continued low standard of some care providers.
He said: “Nine years into regulation we have still got a number of care providers under performing on a number of issues. We still have some care providers out there who will cut corner and will see it as easier to reduce the service rather than reduce their profits.”
Chief executive Mark Golding said that councils were failing to uphold human rights and encourage the CQC to use it’s powers to drive up standards.
He said: “While Mencap welcomes the overall improvements in the adult social care ratings, we are concerned that a quarter of all councils are providing only ‘adequate’ choice and control to people using adult social care services.
“Given that choice and control underpin the government’s plans for the future of social care, these findings are worrying. In Mencap’s ‘Don’t cut us out!’ consultation, not having choice over their life was a major concern of people with a learning disability.
“We are also very concerned that a third of councils need to do more in terms of caring for people with dignity and respect. Councils that are failing in this area are abusing the fundamental human right to dignity.
“The CQC now needs to be rigorous in using its powers to improve standards in adult social care.”
Head of policy Andrew Harrop said many services were “not up to scratch” and that government needed to make sure the CQC had the resources to make change happen.
He said: “Many older people often cannot access the care and support they need at home because of creeping eligibility restrictions and a postcode lottery of service provision. By restricting home care to those who only meet the highest criteria, local councils continue to deny many older people the care they need to live dignified and independent lives.
“The Government must ensure that the CQC is adequately resourced to carry out inspections more frequently to drive up standards and ensure that older people and their families have the most up-to-date information to make informed decisions about their care.”
United Kingdom Homecare Association
The United Kingdom Homecare Association was most concerned with the lack of analysis of the figure heavy report saying it misrepresented the place of independent providers in the market
UKHCA’s chair, Mike Padgham, said: “CQC has identified that council-run care services had a 13% lead in quality ratings at good and excellent level compared to the independent sector, but it fails to report that this small percentage is achieved at almost twice the cost. Nor is there clear statement that council-run services represent a fraction of total supply.”
A statement read: “The Association is particularly disappointed over the report’s scant analysis of the size and capacity of the homecare sector, and notes that despite being responsible for registering services and assessing councils performance, it has not provided an assessment of councils’ ability to increase capacity and stimulate desirable quality at the same time.
“UKHCA also notes a lack of commentary on the relationships between councils and their independent sector providers, which are in places already strained, and likely to become more so with anticipated spending cuts.”
UKHCA’s head of policy, Colin Angel, said: “The reports are essentially a collection of data and are thin on useful analysis of the causes – and solutions – to delivering the highest quality care. It is particularly disappointing that a regulator charged with oversight of both commissioners and providers has failed to make some very basic connections. It really is a missed opportunity.”