Social care leaders have responded to the CQC’s publication of its State of Care report, published on Friday.
Homecare Association CEO Dr Jane Townson said: “We are pleased the CQC recognises the seriousness of the risk of unmet need which now faces adult social care. In homecare, demand is rising and many providers are having to turn down new requests for help. Some providers are unable to staff existing contracts and are handing work back.
“Recruiting and retaining staff is currently more challenging than ever. Inadequate government funding for social care over many years has led to poor pay, terms and conditions of employment and poor commissioning and procurement practices. Pressures during the pandemic have added to staff turnover, and losses could be further exacerbated if vaccination as a condition of deployment is implemented.
“We continue to call on the Government to use the Spending Review to invest adequately in homecare. The priority is to ensure homecare workers are paid fairly for the skilled roles they perform, and at least on a par with equivalent public sector roles. The Health and Social Care Levy is a start but is nowhere near enough to address underlying workforce issues.”
UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said: “This report makes it crystal clear that the care sector is on the precipice due to the catastrophic staffing crisis.
“Urgent action is needed to improve pay for this skilled, crucial work and begin to plug the gaping holes in the care workforce.”
Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive of the Health Foundation, said the report was further proof of the urgent need to invest in the NHS and social care workforce.
Dr Dixon highlighted that the health and social care workforce may need to grow by up to a million staff by 2030/31 to meet demand.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said social care was in “serious trouble” and needed several billions of pounds just to stand still.
The Age UK chief said all eyes were on the Chancellor to deliver in his Spending Review next week the “comprehensive package of extra resources this CQC report demonstrates social care desperately requires”.
Skills for Care CEO Oonagh Smyth welcomed the CQC’s recognition of the interdependency of health and care services and call for greater collaboration across services utilising the skills of a stable social care workforce.
“As social care goes through a period of reform, we must use this evidence to ensure any changes value our workforce, and the difference they make to the lives of people,” Oonagh said.
Dr Rhidian Hughes, Chief Executive of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG), said the report was a “sobering read because it demonstrates that government’s ambitions for a more equitable society are far from the reality of the lives of disabled people who use social care services”.
Vic Rayner OBE, CEO of the National Care Forum (NCF), said the report provided an “alarming but familiar picture of the very real challenges facing the adult social care sector”.
The NCF head said the report highlighted the “urgent need for action to support the workforce with a retention bonus and an immediate pay increase, along with care workers being included in the Shortage Occupation List”.
Mike Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group, said: “The CQC report, whilst very welcome, merely confirms what the social care sector has known for some time – that we are in crisis and about to reach breaking point.
“This winter could be very, very bleak indeed for our most vulnerable unless the Government wakes up and tackles an issue that has been staring them in the face for generations.”