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24.02.17

CQC reform ‘promising, but not enough’ to save failing social care

The Patients Association has stated that reports to change the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC’s) role to regulate council management of social care are “promising, but not enough” to save a system in crisis.

According to recent reports, the regulator will be asked to oversee the use of additional funds for adult social care, due in Phillip Hammond’s budget next month, in an effort to stabilise the UK’s failing social care services.

The CQC declined to comment on the issue at this stage, but did press the need for real change to the UK’s social care system.

But the Patients Association publicly said that these measures will not fix the NHS’s problems, and that instead of diverting funds genuinely new money was needed to ensure the future of social care services in the UK.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: “The emerging reports of additional money for social care and a new role for the CQC are promising, but may not be enough.

“The government can’t regulate its way out of a care crisis. The only solution will be a sustained reversal of the deep cuts to social care we have seen over recent years.”

Murphy did however say that giving the CQC a role in overseeing how social care was managed was positive, adding: “We know that local authorities have been largely unable to implement the Care Act fully since it came into force, and have to balance social care against their other responsibilities.

“However, talk of ‘short-term stabilisation money’ in next month’s Budget is concerning. The care sector is not merely unstable – it is in crisis, and proper funding is the only possible solution. We will be watching the chancellor’s Budget closely, and hope to hear a positive announcement securing the future of social care for people who need it throughout England.”

The news comes as local councils, including Greater Manchester this week, reported that A&E departments were struggling to cope as social care cuts lead to additional strain being placed on primary care services.

The government also plans to integrate health and social care by 2020 in a bid to improve efficiency and allow better care to be delivered, a measure that the National Audit Office has warned may not be successful in solving social care issues.

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