New research from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has shown three quarters of carers (73%) say the mental health of the person they care for has been impacted by Covid-19 restrictions, adding additional strain on health and social care services in England.
Over half of carers (56%) approached in the research also suggested restrictions had impacted the dignity and independence of the person they care for.
In particular, the CQC assessed the challenges in and around London and are now calling on people in the capital to share their feedback on care to inform improvements.
Taking advantage of their #BecauseWeAllCare campaign, launched in conjunction with Healthwatch England, the independent care regulator is seeking to build up a better picture of patients’ needs and the challenges being faced by people in different environments, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
These will then be used to help inform CQC guidance and interventions, working to improve the quality of care for years to come.
In the latest data, just 17% of people in England currently expect services to improve in the next 12 months, with the health and social care system currently dealing with the joint difficulties of Covid-19, treatment and care backlogs, and annual winter pressures.
Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at CQC, said: “This important new research from CQC underlines the stark challenges faced by people in health and social care.
“The recent pressures on services, the emergence of the Omicron variant and the impact this is having on the availability of workforce – a workforce that CQC reported to be exhausted and depleted in our State of Care report in October, continue to impact on the availability and quality of care people receive.
"Yet our research also shows the power and value that giving feedback on care can have. Over half (55%) of those who have provided positive feedback felt better as a result, and 8 in 10 staff value feedback from people and their carers.
“We use feedback to inform our regulatory action, conducting 10,000 inspections since the pandemic began to ensure people are receiving high quality care. We could not do this without the concerns people raise, and the positive feedback on services which we are able to use to share good practice.”
Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association added: “The findings in the CQC’s survey echo what we’ve heard from patients about their recent experiences – increased waits to get appointments, poor communication from health service providers and cancellations. The survey also shows patients understand all services are struggling to cope with the pressures the pandemic has caused and accept this is behind much of the current disruption to care.
“What concerns me, is the finding that three in five are not confident that feedback they give about their experience of health and social care services is used to help make care services better. We think it’s vital that patients and carers tell services about their experiences, whether that’s been a fantastic or terrible experience, because that’s how services can learn and improve what they do. If we want patients and carers to share their experiences, then health and care services have to do more to show how they’re using that feedback to improve services for all patients.”
Anyone with concerns around the quality of care being provided, or feels there is undue risk, is encouraged to either speak directly to their care provider or share concerns with the CQC using the online feedback form.
Health and social care providers are also being encouraged to get involved with the #BecauseWeAllCare campaign by downloading and sharing campaign resources from the stakeholder toolkit.