Care leaders have called for action after the CQC said adult care services in the England were approaching “tipping point”.
The comments follow today’s publication by the CQC of its annual assessment of the state of the sector.
Professor Martin Green OBE, chair of the independent Age and the International Longevity Centre, said: “I think the warning on the fragility of the care sector requires the Government to take immediate action to increase funding and to have a mechanism to ensure that this money goes directly to the frontline and to care providers rather than just into the coffers of local authorities.”
Tim Hammond, CEO of Four Seasons Health Care (pictured), identified the next increase of the National Living Wage in April as the most immediate threat to the sector.
“There needs to be at least another council tax precept next April to mitigate the additional National Living Wage cost and hence begin to stabilise the decline in care home places available for council funded residents,” Mr Hammond said.
Jane Ashcroft CBE, CEO of leading not for profit provider Anchor, said it was “appalling” that fewer people were receiving state funded care and successive governments had failed to reform the system to protect people from unlimited costs added.
The Anchor boss added: “At Anchor we supported the move to a living wage. Indeed, we committed to paying the living wage for our care colleagues some years before the government introduced its increase. Like most providers, we are continuously driving efficiency – something that our increasing size in the care home market has supported.
“There is a limit though, particularly when our ageing society means people increasingly face more complex needs. Good quality care cannot be done on the cheap. We will only operate in places where funding, whether from the state or private individuals or a combination of both, enables us to do that.”
Caroline Abrahams, charity director of Age UK, said it was “clearly time for very serious concern”.
“The inherent vulnerability of older people who need social care makes it one of our most important public services and while the Government has tried to prop up the system through measures like the Better Care Fund and the social care precept it is obvious that these do not go far enough,” Caroline said.
The Age UK director highlighted next month’s autumn statement as the opportunity to give social care “the priority it deserves”.