BREAKING NEWS: Adult social care needs ‘masked’ by focus on NHS, says CQC

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 17:  In this photo illustration Sterling notes and coins are displayed together on February 17, 2010 in London, England. As the UK gears up for one of the most hotly contested general elections in recent history it is expected that the economy, immigration, the NHS and education are likely to form the basis of many of the debates.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 17: In this photo illustration Sterling notes and coins are displayed together on February 17, 2010 in London, England. As the UK gears up for one of the most hotly contested general elections in recent history it is expected that the economy, immigration, the NHS and education are likely to form the basis of many of the debates. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Adult social care is approaching ‘tipping point’ as a result of a focus on the NHS, according to the CQC.

In its annual assessment report, the State of Care, the regulator said while most health and adult social care services in England were providing safe, high quality and compassionate care, pressure on demand, access and cost, raised concerns about how long this can last.

Peter Wyman, chair of the CQC, said: “We know that tough financial conditions are having an impact on providers. But the focus on the financial problems of the NHS has to some extent masked other issues – reduced access to social care and vacancies in primary medical services have led to increased demand in secondary care, which is often not in the best interests of people while generally being considerably more costly.”

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David Behan, chief executive of the CQC added: “We are becoming concerned about the fragility of the adult social care market, with evidence suggesting that it might be approaching a ‘tipping point’.

“Unless, the health and social care system finds a better way to work together, I have no doubt that next year there will be more people whose needs aren’t met, less improvement and more deterioration.”

The report highlights a number of areas of concern within the sector, including:

While three quarters of services improved after being initially rated ‘inadequate’, nearly a quarter of those re-inspected failed to improve. Half of services rated as ‘requires improvement’ had no change to their rating and 153 had become ‘inadequate’.

Data showed that a steady increase in the number of nursing beds seen between 2009 and March 2015 had stalled.

Pressures on fees and the impact of the National Living Wage had forced some providers out of business with local authorities warning of more to come.

One million older living with unmet social care needs in 2015, according to Age UK estimates.

A 26% decline in the number of people receiving local authority (LA) funded social care from 1.1 million in 2009 to 850,000 in 2013/2014 with 81% of LAs reducing long-term spending on social care for older people over the last five years.

To read the full report, click here.

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