Good enough for mum? The state of adult social care, 2014 – 2017

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28 July, 2017


A new report has been published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC)* into the state of adult social care in England.
Since 2013 the CQC has been using the ‘Mum Test’ to guide its inspections of adult social care services (including care homes, care in people’s own homes, Shared Lives schemes and supported living services). 33,000 inspections were carried out between October 2014 and February 2017.
Andrea Sutcliffe, the CQC’s Chief Inspector explains: 
“To make sure that our regulatory approach is truly personalised I want us to consider for every service we look at – is this good enough for my Mum (or any other member of my family)? If it is, that is fantastic. If it’s not then we need to do something about it.” 
Despite the CQC’s ‘stark warning’ in October 2016 that adult social care in England was ‘approaching a tipping point’, the report reveals some positive findings. Whilst ‘the quality across England is undeniably variable’:
Over three-quarters (77%) of adult social care services were rated ‘good’.
However, only 2% of services were rated as ‘outstanding’.
2% of services are currently rated as inadequate.
19% of services were rated as ‘requires improvement’ and are struggling to improve
However, 81% of services rated as ‘inadequate’ improved their overall rating following re-inspection.
The social care sector faces myriad pressures including: chronic underfunding due to government cuts; a growing and ageing population; more people with increasingly complex conditions; a greater demand on services; more problems for people in accessing care; and, ‘further issues across the health and care sector’. 
The CQC has plans to explore the effects these pressures are having on service-users and the wider health and care landscape in its next report in the autumn.
Writing in the report’s introduction, Andrea Sutcliffe was keen to celebrate the valuable work of the social care sector, and stress the vital contribution of its workers to our society:
“Adult social care can make a real difference to people’s lives. It is the largest sector that CQC regulates, with a large number and range of providers, a strong private and voluntary sector, and wide differences in the size and types of services and care provided. Adult social care is estimated to contribute £20 billion to the economy and employ around 1.4 million people – 5.3% of the total workforce in England”.
For more on England's adult social care system, click here.

*The Care Quality Commission is the independent regulator of health and adult social care in England.

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