This week the Care Quality Commission published its annual ‘State of Care’ report. This report covers the financial year 2018-19. The report concludes that there are more inpatient services for people with learning disabilities and/or autism that were rated inadequate, and more child and adolescent mental health inpatient services rated inadequate.
Key comments include:
- Some people are detained in mental health services when this might have been avoided if they had been helped sooner, and then find themselves spending too long in services that are not suitable for them.
- Too many people with a learning disability or autism are in hospital because of a lack of local, intensive community services.
- We have concerns about the quality of inpatient wards that should be providing longer-term and highly specialised care for people.
- Waiting times for treatment in hospitals have continued to increase and, like many areas within the NHS, demand for elective and cancer treatments is growing, which risks making things worse.
- In hospital emergency departments, performance has continued to get worse while attendances and admissions have continued to rise.
Jeremy Hughes, CEO at Alzheimer’s Society said: “Today’s report once again highlights the desperate situation people with dementia find themselves in as a result of our unjust social care system. Published on the day that the Government has omitted any detailed plans for social care reform from the Queen’s Speech, questions need to be asked as to how the Prime Minister intends to fulfil his promise to ‘fix the social care crisis, once and for all.’
“All we’ve had today, aside from promises, is a reiteration of the spending review announcement that councils could be allowed to increase their tax by 2% to fund social care. It’s not new money from the Government.”
Responding to the report, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Vince Cable said:
“It is rare for a public body such as the Care Quality Commission to be so scathing of the effects of Government policy. Their honesty is to be congratulated.
“They highlight graphically the decline in standards for mental health and learning disability inpatient services. This means some of the most vulnerable are not receiving anything like the standards of care that they need.
“Staffing shortages, coupled with inadequate funding solutions has meant the strained care system is beginning to crack.
“Liberal Democrats have long argued that mental health in particular should be raised to parity with other forms of healthcare.
“Yesterday’s Queen’s Speech pays lip service to improvements in these services but it must be followed up with real resources.
Read a summary of the full report here (with links to download the full report).