Responding to the Care Quality Commission's State of Care report, Chris Ham, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund, said:
‘It has been clear for some time that cuts in budgets and rising demand for services have left the adult social care system struggling to meet the needs of those who depend on it. This is placing an unacceptable burden on unpaid carers and is leading to rising numbers of people who have difficulty with the basic activities of daily living without any support at all.
‘The fact that the CQC now believes the social care market is approaching a tipping point adds to the overwhelming evidence that the market is unsustainable in its current form.
‘This is exacerbating pressures on the NHS, as evidenced by the record number of patients who are fit to be discharged but are delayed in hospital. The government must address the under-funding of social care in the forthcoming Autumn Statement.
‘The NHS organisations that are providing high-quality care should be congratulated, but it is clear that the severe operational and financial pressures are beginning to take a toll. While this is most visible in acute services, it is also important to highlight the huge pressure on district nursing services, where unmanageable caseloads and shortages of staff in district nursing services risk compromising quality of care, and mental health services, where shortages of beds are making it increasingly difficult to treat patients in crisis.
‘It is essential that health and social care organisations work together in a more co-ordinated way. The new models of care and place-based approaches to planning care now being developed across the country are key to this.
‘We also need to recognise that while regulation and inspection are important, on their own they are not enough to ensure high-quality care. It is also vital to champion good leadership, a culture of engaging with staff and involving local people in improving services.’