Kate Terroni, CQC’s Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, gives her take on the latest State of Care report.
Following a short election-enforced break since my last column, I have quite a bit to update you on. In October we published our latest State of Care report – our annual analysis of what health and social care looks like across the country; and outline of the challenges ahead.
The report shows that the majority of the care provided across England is of a good standard, with 84% of services being rated Good or Outstanding. This is remarkable when you consider that we have no current long-term funding plan for social care, a vacancy rate of approximately 122,000 people with turnover rates between 30- 37%; and the fact that services are supporting greater numbers of people with more complex needs. It is essential to recognise that most people are getting good care due to the continued efforts of our workforce, who routinely go above and beyond to meet the needs of the people they support.
I was reminded of this again when I spent time last month at a residential and nursing home for older people and a home supporting 10 adults with complex learning disabilities. I observed how passionate staff were about their job; encouraging residents to vote (I saw residents and care workers braving the rain to go to the local polling station), and talking about people’s mental and spiritual health with equal importance to their physical health.
I heard repeatedly that it’s not about the task of caring, but it’s about building meaningful relationships. I was particularly struck by conversations I had with care staff supporting a group of adults with no verbal communication, the lengths they went to in order to understand the needs and wishes of those they supported and their aspirations for a good life. As Clenton Farquharson, Chair of Think Local Act Personal, says: “Good social care is about supporting people to have a life and not just a service.”
One of the key messages from State of Care is that people’s experience of quality is affected by their ability to access care in a timely way. Unmet need continues to rise in social care, with Age UK estimating that 1.5 million older people do not have access to the care and support they need. In two years, the number of older people living with an unmet care need has risen by almost 20%, to nearly one in seven older people. I am very clear that agreeing a solution to the funding issue must be a priority for our new Parliament.
The importance of supporting and enabling workers is another feature of our report. We are clear that we must act to encourage more flexible and collaborative approaches to support staff to acquire new skills and fulfil their career potential. Both the NHS and social care need a workforce who feel valued and who are supported to achieve their potential if they are to provide people with high quality care they need and deserve.
Inspiring more people to become care workers and equipping them with the necessary skills must be a priority if we are to meet the complex and varied healthcare needs of today’s population. I would encourage you all to take the time to read through the report and would love to hear
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