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Latest CQC findings reveal a ‘Russian roulette’ for care services

Published on 06 July 2017 12:01 AM

Age UK has its voiced its concerns about major inequality in the standards of care for older people.

  • The charity is responding to the findings in a national report by the Care Quality Commission about adult social care services
  • Although the report showed that most services were safe and of a high quality, a fifth required improvement and safety was the biggest worry for inspectors
  •  Age UK says these figures reveal a 'Russian roulette' for care and has urged the Government to make a much greater investment into care services.

Most care services pass the 'Mum test'

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the body which regulates our social care services. Their national report published on 6 July 2017 has investigated the standards of care which older people in England receive in their own homes and in care homes.

They have based their findings on their new system for evaluating adult social care, focusing on what matters most to patients when using services. Services were judged on whether they were:

  • safe
  • caring
  • effective
  • responsive
  • well-led

Encouragingly, over three quarters of services (77%) were rated as Good and a further 2% were viewed to be Outstanding. This means that the majority of them pass the ‘Mum Test', described by the Chief Inspector of the CQC Andrea Sutcliffe as the way CQC staff consider whether a service would be good enough for their own loved ones.

A fifth of all social care services need improvement

Although it was mostly positive, the report did highlight a worrying variation in the levels of care available to older people.

19% of social care services were rated by the CQC as Requiring Improvement and 2% were Inadequate. They will be required to undergo further inspections, which aim to improve the care they are providing, although this is not always the result. In fact, the report revealed that a quarter of services which had previously been rated as good have declined.

Poor safety levels leave older people vulnerable

Within the context of safety, the levels of inadequate care were even higher, rising to 25% of services not being considered good enough. Safety concerns can leave older people vulnerable to not receiving their prescribed medicine or their home visits being missed.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK, has described this apparent inequality as a ‘Russian roulette' with older people risking their own safety when finding a care provider.

Government must commit urgent funds

This news comes soon after a major investigation into the UK's care homes sector was announced due to reports that some of them could be breaking the law.

The new report is therefore yet another warning to the Government that they must commit more money to our country's social care system to protect the older people who depend on it.

'Taken as a whole, this report is a graphic demonstration of why older people desperately need the Government to follow through on its commitment to consult on proposals for strengthening social care later this year,' Caroline Abrahams commented.

'The report also makes a compelling case for why considerably more investment in social care is required.'

Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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