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03rd December 2012

Austerity cuts to social care bill driving need for greater service provider efficiency

Survey finds 80% of social workers believe austerity cuts present a risk to dignity of older people requiring care

A survey by Age UK and the College of Social Work suggests that care for older people is suffering as result of funding cuts. 85% of the 200 respondents said they had seen the impact of cuts in the past year, with 95% of those (about 80% of the total surveyed) saying the cuts in England presented “a risk to the dignity of their older clients.”

A look at the figures means this should come as little surprise. With funding stagnant or decreasing since 2004, the number of people aged 85 and over, the segment most likely to require social care, has increased by 250,000.

Sustainable system of social care funding

Other noteworthy findings resulting from cuts include:

  • 70% of respondents expressed a lack of confidence that local authority-funded older clients always received the right quantity and quality of social care
  • 65% reported a rise in emergency re-admissions among older clients over the past year
  • 70% observed a rise in charges for day care centres, home care and community transport

Age UK charity director general Michelle Mitchell said: "Age UK calls on the government to recognise and close the current funding gap, and to build on the programme of legislative reform set out by the White Paper by establishing a fair and sustainable system of social care funding."

Department of Health investing £7.2 billion over four years

The Department for Health says the care of older and disabled people is a priority and it is investing £7.2bn over four years to enable local authorities to protect access to care and support. It believes councils can maintain necessary levels of help if they reform services and drive down costs.

This last point may chime with the optimists, but realists might have an altogether different view. It is unlikely that driving down costs can make up for the funding shortfall. The wheels of legislative reform turn painfully slowly; reform or not, it is unlikely that a social care funding rabbit will be pulled out of a hat anytime soon, if ever. To borrow a phrase from US politics, it is likely the UK government will ‘keep kicking the can down the road’.

QCS improves CQC compliance management and Care Planning efficiency

In the short to mid-term one of the key actions for the health and social care sector is to leave no stone unturned in the ceaseless quest for efficiency. Service providers can obtain excellent efficiency savings by adopting a QCS compliance management system. Service providers and their carers can manage compliance with confidence, safe in the knowledge that the system ensures regulatory requirements are met.

A QCS compliance management is a highly cost effective. Without such a system it usually means registered providers incur costs for external consultants or registered managers incur significant time penalties in making sure that policies and procedures meet Care Quality Commission compliance requirements.

Neither of these approaches guarantees continual updating of policies and procedures in step with legislative and any consequential CQC changes. Care planning with QCS offers a structured approach that ensures the dignity of service users is respected, and can help to reverse some of the trends that are noted in the survey.

Demonstrations of the QCS compliance management system are provided online while we talk you through it over the phone. Why not call us now on 0333 405 33 33? You can also click this link now to sign up for a FREE trial.

Take a look at the news report on the BBC’s website here.

*All information is correct at the time of publishing

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