Complaints about the adult social care fees and charging are on the rise, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has revealed.
The Ombudsman’s Annual Review of Adult Social Care Complaints reveals that a greater proportion of complaints are being investigated than previous years.
The report shows almost three quarters of investigations (73%) relating to fees and charging for care are being upheld by the Ombudsman.
Overall, the uphold rate of complaints has climbed from 43% to 66% since 2010.
The Ombudsman said the volume of complaints from people who pay for their care was lower than expected, however, adding that the independent sector could do more to highlight people’s rights to complain.
Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: “Many of the issues we see appear to be driven by attempts to ration scarce resources, and we received and upheld more complaints about fees and charging this year than in previous years. While I recognise the challenging environment both commissioners and providers are operating within, any attempts to reduce costs must also properly consider the impact on the rights and dignity of people who use services, and must comply with both the letter and the spirit of the Care Act 2014.
“I am also concerned the volume of complaints from people who pay or arrange for their care privately has remained static, despite the area already being under-represented in the work we do. It is vitally important care providers let people know about their rights to bring their complaints to us.”
Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission, added: “It’s vital everybody involved in the provision and commissioning of social care services listens and acts when complaints or concerns are raised. We know that when people raise a concern they have a genuine desire to improve the service for themselves and others. We also know that the majority of services appreciate feedback and use it to enact positive change.”
The CQC’s ‘Declare Your Care’ campaign encourages people to speak about their experiences of care and is working with the CMA (Competition & Markets Authority) and Trading Standards to act on the recommendations given in the CMA’S recent Care Home Market Study.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, said: “Once again, this document is a very helpful resource for care providers and councils. The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman is an effective one stop shop for redress and is not afraid to use its teeth. It is telling that a large proportion of the complaints focused on charges and fees; there has never been a greater need for a long term financial solution for adult social care and Care England urges the Government to address it immediately regardless of Brexit”.