It has been a “turbulent year” for health and social care, says the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in its annual assessment of the state of care in England. The “State of Care” report for 2023 says care is “gridlocked” as the cost-of-living crisis bites harder and workforce pressures have escalated.
Adult social care providers continue to struggle with recruitment and retention because rising costs have made it difficult to give staff pay rises in line with inflation, which is having an impact on the quality of care and the ability to re-invest in care homes. Local authority funding for care home places still fails to keep pace with costs and the rising number of people needing care, the CQC says.
“As local authority funded adult social care places are often less profitable, there is the risk that people who live in more deprived areas, and are more likely to receive local authority funded care, may not be able to get the care they need,” it adds.
Vic Rayner, CEO of National Care Forum, which represents not-for-profit providers, said the language of “profit” should have no place in public services.
She commented: “The CQC report lays bare the reality that the notion of a ‘care market’ was flawed from the outset. The outcome of systematically underfunding local authorities, who in turn have not paid the actual cost of delivering care, has brought us to a place where profound health inequalities for individuals and communities are now compounded by profound care inequalities.”