News

10.11.15

‘Special measures’ still tainting England with more than 40% of social care services failing

More than 40% of social care services either need to improve or are entirely inadequate, recent CQC inspections have found.

The regulator published 223 reports on social care providers in the north, south, central England and London yesterday (9 November). Of these, 92 were either rated as ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’.

All of the six providers found to be inadequate were placed in special measures, although one had already been there due to failings in a previous inspection.

One Hartlepool provider was rated as inadequate across all possible categories during the five-day unannounced CQC inspection in September and October.

These findings build on similar reports of sector-wide failure, with nearly half of social care providers in the south of England being criticised in inspections published in September.

Providers rated as ‘inadequate’ were often not compliant with the Health and Social Care Act 2008, lacked sufficient safety procedures and had weak governance and staffing structures in place.

The regulator also wrote about specific worrying details in each location, such as offensive odours in rooms, soiled beds, fire hazards and unsafe medicine management.

Although adult social care services usually only stay in special measures for no more than a year, the bleak findings build on similar reports of sector-wide failure.

In September, nearly half of social care providers in the south of England were rated negatively, with some placed in special measures. Just one month before that, NHE revealed that almost half of care providers were also failing in the central region.

These outcomes had not changed since previous failures in April began to highlight a growing national problem, made clear by CQC’s ongoing social care inspection regime originally launched in October 2014.

But yesterday’s inspections also come at an extremely appropriate time, where calls for social care integration with health services and budgets are at the forefront of many leaders’ personal and professional agendas.

Just today, NHS Confederation’s chair sent a letter to the chancellor urging him to create a ring-fence around social care funding as part of its integration with the NHS.

The day before that, authors behind last year’s ground-breaking Barker Commission demanded that the government use cash earmarked for the Dilnot reforms to rescue the “crumbling” social care sector.

Although these recommendations are now coming to the surface all at once given the ticking time bomb of the upcoming Spending Review, similar calls have been ongoing for months.

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