A number of people have contacted me recently to raise their concerns about care home standards.
I am very concerned about the current state of adult social care in England. In July, 3,200 care services were rated as “requires improvement” and more than 340 as “inadequate”. That means that some 92,000 vulnerable people are receiving poor care and some 10,000 people are receiving inadequate care.
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services found that £4.6 billion had been cut from adult social care budgets since 2010. The Health Foundation has also said that that six years of real-terms reductions in social care budgets have left 400,000 fewer people receiving essential help. This shows the Government’s neglect for one of society’s most vulnerable groups.
In October, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published its annual state of care report, revealing that the number of nursing homes beds has fallen by 4,000 in two years. The number of people not getting support for their social care needs has also risen by 18% and the future quality of care has been described as “precarious”. I believe such figures are simply unacceptable.
The CQC report is evidence of the Government’s inability to maintain health services at the standard patients and their families both expect and deserve. Reductions in social care budgets since 2010 have also caused problems for the recruitment and retention of staff, which is at the heart of the poor care that is being reported.
At the General Election I stood on a manifesto that promised an extra £8 billion to tackle the immediate financial gap in social care, including an additional £1 billion for the first year. This would ensure care staff were paid the National Living Wage and extend publicly funded social care to 36,000 people with the highest needs.
I am aware that Independent Age is working with Healthwatch England to improve the information available to help local people assess the quality of care homes.
I can assure you my Labour colleagues and I will keep up pressure on the Government to provide our health and care system the resources it needs to provide the best possible care. I very much hope the Chancellor will use his budget in November to finally put the NHS on a secure financial footing for the long term.