Care leaders have responded after the CQC highlighted the fragile state of social care in its annual State of Care report.
In its State of Care report, the regulator said the fragility of the social care system had been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Veronica Gray, Hourglass (formerly Action on Elder Abuse) Deputy CEO and Director of Policy, said lockdown measures had created a “pressures cooker environment for abuse” and left vulnerable older people at particular risk.
The UK wide charity said it has seen a 110% increase in helpline enquiries during lockdown.
Professor Martin Green OBE, CEO of Care England (pictured) said it was “disappointing” that the report was “predominantly a narrative of events” rather than a “critical reflection of what must change”, which was “underscored by the lack of internal reflection from CQC as to its handling of the crisis”.
Martin added: “The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the interdependence of the health and social care system and the organisations that operate across the system. The regulator must now reflect upon its own role and look to facilitate the delivery of safe, quality and sustainable COVID-19 proof care in the future.”
Mike Padgham, Chair of the Independent Care Group, said the crisis had exposed the “dire state of social care” and said it was “time to deliver” on funding and reform of the sector.
Kathy Roberts, chair of the Care Provider Alliance (CPA) commented that the pandemic had revealed the lack of parity in support given to the NHS and social care while paradoxically highlighting the inter-dependence of the two systems.
The CPA repeated its call for long-term funding and support to ensure the social care market is sustainable, an equal place for care providers at local and national planning and decision making alongside health and local authority colleagues, and recognition and reward for the highly skilled care workforce.
Dr Rhidian Hughes, chief executive of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG), said the pandemic had “exacerbated the challenges already faced by the UK’s 14.1 million disabled people and the social care sector that supports them”.
Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive and Registrar at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), added: “Ensuring a fairer health and care system for all is critical. To deliver that, we need to not only recruit, but to retain and develop all of our nursing and midwifery professionals no matter where they work. That way we can make sure people continue to receive the best and safest care in the years to come.”