The CQCs annual State of Care report has been published, reviewing health care and adult social care from 2020 to 2021. It confirms much of what we know about the crisis in social care, with the report explaining that “many of the challenges services are now facing are linked to historical underinvestment and lack of sustained recognition and reward for the social care workforce”.
Unfortunately, the report was largely silent on two important issues.
While the CQC is right to highlight that “restrictions on visiting people in residential settings have had a big impact on some people using services and their families”, there was little mention of the fact that many care homes are still implementing restrictions contrary to current guidance. We recently conducted a survey in collaboration with Rights for Residents which identified hundreds of such cases across the country. The State of Care report also doesn’t mention that, in many cases, care homes are informing relatives that they applied additional restrictions on the advice of local public health and/or local authority teams. We recently wrote to local health and care leaders asking them to take action and end harmful isolation practices.
Over the past two and a half years, we have repeatedly asked the CQC to restart routine inspections of care settings. While the report does highlight that 83% of adult social care services were rated as good or outstanding, it does not explain how many of these services have or have not been inspected since the start of the pandemic. As the CQC are no longer carrying out regular inspections, does this statistic even tell us very much? Launching the report, Ian Trenholm, chief executive of the CQC, revealed that whistleblowing incidents are up around 50%, and the report fails to consider whether the ceasing of routine inspections has led to more cases of abuse and neglect going undiscovered.
On these two vital issues, the CQCs silence is deafening.
R&RA’s director attended the launch of the report and urged CQC to do more to ensure the rights of people needing care are protected:
“Too many callers to our helpline tell us they can’t rely on CQC to act on their concerns about care. We desperately need a strong regulator.”
Watch a video of the State of Care launch, with R&RA’s contribution from 34mins in.
Read State of Care on CQC’s website