Last week the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the Health and Social Care regulators said in its 2020 State of Care Report that the COVID crisis has both exposed and exacerbated existing problems in adult social care. The CQC recognise that the sector which is already fragile, faced “significant challenges” around access to PPE, testing and staffing, and that coordinated support was less readily available to social care providers than for the NHS.
The State of Care Report says the long-standing need for reform, investment and workforce planning in adult social care has been thrown into “stark relief” by the pandemic. They have called for long-term funding and a new deal for the care workforce, which develops clear career progression, secures the right skills for the sector, and better values staff. There is also a need to invest in their training and support.
Ian Trenholm, Chief Executive of CQC, said:
“Failure to agree a funding solution continues to drive, year on year, instability in the market, and COVID has exposed and exacerbated that, particular in terms of funding. Money has been made available by the government, but it’s all short-term funding. What is required is a longer-term funding solution But it’s not just about money, it’s also about staffing and professionalising the adult social care workforce, making sure that working in adult social care has the prestige that it deserves. … every year we talk about social care being fragile. Now is the time for action. COVID has pushed social care even closer to the edge and we need to make sure that action takes place now.”
Boris Johnson said in his first speech as prime minister, in July 2019 that his government would fix the crisis in social care once and for all, but no reform has yet been proposed despite more than 15,000 people dying from Covid-19 in England’s care homes. Covid-19 has also exposed further the inequalities in the service that exist for people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, people with disabilities, and people living in deprived areas who have suffered more severely from its impact. The CQC press release about the report can be read here.
Another report on a similar topic, has been released by Skills for Care on thier Workforce Intelligence Website. They have released their report, “The State of the Adult Social Care Sector and Workforce in England” which amongst other things indicates that the vacancy rate is 7.3% (equivalent to 112,000 current vacancies). Their findings with a really useful infografic summary are available for access Here