Coronavirus has exposed and exacerbated existing problems in adult social care, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said in its annual State of Care report.
The regulator said that the sector, already fragile, faced “significant challenges” around access to PPE, testing and staffing, and that coordinated support was less readily available than for the NHS.
The report said the long-standing need for reform, investment and workforce planning in adult social care has been thrown into “stark relief” by the pandemic.
It calls for long-term funding and a new deal for the care workforce, which develops clear career progression, secures the right skills for the sector, better recognises and values staff, invests in their training and supports appropriate professionalisation.
Speaking during a virtual press briefing last week, Ian Trenholm (pictured), chief executive of CQC, said: “Failure to agree a funding solution continues to drive, year on year, instability in the market, and COVID has exposed and exacerbated that, particular in terms of funding. Money has been made available by the government, but it’s all short-term funding. What is required is a longer-term funding solution.
“But it’s not just about money, it’s also about staffing and professionalising the adult social care workforce, making sure that working in adult social care has the prestige that it deserves.”
Trenholm added that there needs to be immediate action to reform the sector.
“Each year we talk about social care being fragile. Now is the time for action,” he said. “COVID has pushed social care even closer to the edge and we need to make sure that action takes place now.”