Homecare market under growing pressure

By William Eichler | 24 August 2017

The continued under-funding of adult social care is placing the homecare provider market under a lot of pressure, councils have warned.

A new study on homecare provision by consumer watchdog Healthwatch England found concerns that some workers lacked experience and basic skills.

Deputy director of Healthwatch England, Neil Tester, said: ‘We heard examples of compassionate care from dedicated staff, but people also talked about care that doesn’t meet even basic standards.’

President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, Margaret Willcox, insisted ‘most adult social care services in England are providing people with safe, high quality and compassionate care’.

She continued: ‘That they are doing this in the context of rising demand and inadequate funding is a tribute in itself but there is always room for improvement and this report provides helpful feedback that both commissioners and providers can use.’

Chairman of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) community wellbeing board, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, added: ‘Councils are committed to driving up standards of care and work closely with local providers to try to continuously improve services for people who rely on homecare.

‘This report shows that while most people report that their services are good there is a need to improve services.

‘The financial pressure facing services is having an impact and even the very best efforts of councils are not enough to avert the real and growing crisis we are facing in ensuring older people receive the care they deserve.

‘The continuing under-funding of adult social care, the significant pressures of an ageing population and the National Living Wage are combining to heap pressure on the homecare provider market.

‘This study shows the strain providers are under and emphasises the urgent need for a long-term, sustainable solution to the social care funding crisis.’

Chief executive of the United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA), Bridget Warr, said: ‘Healthwatch’s report adds to the growing body of evidence on the human impact of a fragile care system.

‘UKHCA strongly believes that the solution is properly resourced services, commissioned in a flexible way so that frontline careworkers have sufficient time meet people’s needs in full.’

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