Increased stability in social care and real collaboration across health and social care are key to mitigating the risk of “tsunami of unmet need”.

Friday, October 22, 2021

The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) latest annual report, The State of Health Care & Adult Social Care in England has warned that without increased stability in Social Care and real collaboration across Health and Social Care then there is a real risk of a “tsunami of unmet need” this winter.

Ian Trenholm, chief executive of CQC, has said: “It’s going to be a difficult winter. We need to grasp the opportunity now to build something better and avoid a tsunami of unmet need.”

In the CQC’s latest annual assessment of the State of Health & Social Care in England the report highlights that the Governments recent £500 million investment in the adult social care workforce has never been needed more as the sector is facing rising vacancy rates as social care providers struggle to attract and retain staff.

The report quotes data released last week by Skills for Care which shows that the social care staff vacancy rate has increased steadily from 6.0% in April 2021 to 10.2% in September 2021. Alarmingly, the CQC documents in the report examples of how some care homes, whose attempts at recruitment have failed, are now having to cancel their registration to provide nursing care, leaving residents looking for new homes in local areas that are already at, or close to, capacity.

The CQC believes that if the funding for social care is to have any impact, there must be a sharp focus on developing a clearly defined career pathway for social care staff which includes:

  • training - supported by consistent investment
  • higher overall levels of pay to increase the competitiveness of the market
  • good terms and conditions to ensure employers can attract and retain the right people.

Without this, the CQC notes the sector will continue to lose staff to the retail and hospitality industries, “Which will ultimately lead to reduced capacity and choice, and poorer quality care for the people who rely on social care – resulting in a ripple effect across the wider health and care system that risks becoming a tsunami of unmet need across all sectors, with increasing numbers of people unable to access care.”