Major report into state of national care and health services must drive further improvement

Today’s influential report into England’s care and health services reflects the high quality of provision, but also underlines the urgent need to sustain and protect the embattled social care sector. VODG (the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group), the national body representing leading not-for-profit disability support providers, welcomes the comprehensive picture as well as the warnings about future services in State of Care, the annual analysis from regulator Care Quality Commission (CQC).

VODG has long highlighted the precarious financial state of the social care sector and the growing demands placed on it, most recently in its report Stitch in Time. VODG’s report warns that successive governments’ failure to properly fund social care leaves millions at risk of losing essential support and may negatively impact on the NHS due to increased demand for emergency care. CQC have now explicitly recognised that a tipping point has been reached as some people do not receive the care they need.

VODG believes that the CQC’s annual focus on care and health should extend further to include full independent performance assessments of local health and social care commissioning. This is crucial in cases where councils are in financial difficulties, so inspection can ensure that statutory social care duties are fully met.

VODG also hopes that today’s authoritative analysis will encourage the government to expedite the publication of the long-awaited green paper, which needs to set out government’s vision and funding for disability and older people’s services alike.

VODG chief executive Dr Rhidian Hughes said:

“We welcome CQC’s continued spotlight onto quality issues in the sector and its unique perspective which gives us a broad view across health and social care. The review of how local systems are working, and must join up, is especially welcome, as are CQC’s clear statements about the consequences of under funding in social care. It is deeply concerning that a tipping point in the sector has been reached and that some people are not having their care needs met.

Social care is suffering from decades of underfunding at the same time as demand for such provision is increasing. Today’s evidence adds to warnings from across the sector and government must now act swiftly to invest in and protect vital services.”