The financial pressures on social care providers caused by funding and staffing challenges have been laid bare by the CQC.
The latest State of Care report reveals analysis of care providers covered by the CQC’s Market Oversight scheme, which represents around 25% of the adult social care market in England.
Data gathered by the CQC shows providers’ profits fell by one percentage point between September 2016 and September 2018 due mainly to a 9.6% rise in staff costs, driven by a 28% increase in agency use.
According to the ADASS budget survey 2019, 86% of adult social services directors believed the National Living Wage will be the biggest driver of increases in unit costs of residential, nursing and domiciliary care.
Other cost pressures are being caused by auto enrolment in workforce pensions, a levy on UK employers to fund new apprenticeships and staff shortages.
Kate Terroni, chief inspector of adult social care, said: “Social care has received some additional investment from government over the last few years but that has tended to be short-term. We need a long term commitment to ensure we have stability in the market.”
CQC staff have highlighted issues with the sustainability of the domiciliary care market, referencing increasing numbers of agencies handing back contracts to local authorities, the report noted.
The United Kingdom Homecare Association reported that only one in seven councils in the UK was paying their local domiciliary care providers the rate it estimates is necessary to comply with National Minimum Wage regulations and the costs of running the service in a sustainable way.
“Our staff have noted seeing more care services of all types choosing not to support people funded by local authorities, because their contracts do not cover the true cost of delivering people’s care,” the report warned.