Care Quality Commission to Play Social Care Regulatory Role

Healthcare regulator the Care Quality Commission will expand its role and become involved in the regulation of social care.

The Care Quality Commission will be responsible for overseeing the way that local councils deliver the social care system.

The proposals are intended to address what is considered to be a crisis in the sector.

Many prominent individuals within the NHS system have already spoken out on the problems that social care faces.

The government plans to ask the regulator to oversee the usage of additional funds for care, which are expected to be announced in the Budget next month.

Although this initiative has yet to be made public, it is known that talks have been ongoing between the Treasury, Department of Health and the CQC.

Funding is intended to stabilise the social care sector, although the quantity of funding, and further details about when the monies will arrive, have yet to be confirmed.

Talks between the government and the Care Quality Commission are intended to establish how councils will utilise funding.

It is intended for the Treasury to deliver measurable improvements, particularly for users of existing social care provisions.

A particular priority will be reducing the number of delay transfers from hospital, following widespread reports of bed-blocking.

The CQC already inspects social care providers, and oversees the care provider market, but it does not inspect local authorities’ commissioning responsibilities.

But this power could now be offered to the regulator via a legal direction from the Health Secretary, effectively circumnavigating the need for new legislation to be drafted.

This new initiative is likely to be announced when the spring budget is delivered on 8th March.

Prime Minister Theresa May has previously been criticised for the failure of the government to deliver additional healthcare reforms within the Autumn Statement.

Simon Stevens was particularly critical of this decision, with many healthcare leaders stating that both social care and healthcare require significant increases in funding.

The prime minister set up a Cabinet Office review of social care and integration around the end of last year, which is understood to be looking at both short and long-term action to address difficulties in the NHS system.

With the initiative continuing to develop behind the scenes, the Care Quality Commission has been reluctant to confirm any details.

But a spokeswoman for the organisation did confirm that there are known difficulties within social care.

“In October last year, the CQC warned that adult social care was approaching a tipping point. We know many people are getting great care but that is not the reality for everyone and we are increasingly seeing services struggling. Without real change, next year there will be more people whose needs aren’t met, less improvement and more deterioration.”

 

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