The Chief Inspector at the Care Quality Commission, Andrea Sutcliffe, has spoken out against the state of adult social care in England, saying that budget cuts have left the system under stress and strain, with carers demoralised by low pay and long hours.
Speaking to the Observer, Andrea Sutcliffe said that the strain on carers “potentially means that they may leave – and we do see turnover – but it also may mean that they end up being the sort of care worker you wouldn’t want them to be, because the system around them isn’t supportive.”
In response, a spokesperson for the Department of Health said: “Treating someone with dignity and compassion doesn’t cost anything. We’re making sure we recruit people with the right values and skills by introducing a ‘fit and proper person’ test for directors and a care certificate for front-line staff.”
However, Clare Pelham, CEO of Leonard Cheshire Disability, responded firmly that the Department of Health’s assertion that dignity and compassion doesn’t cost anything was wrongly representing the system: “If there is only sufficient funding for a 15-minute care visit, it is simply impossible in many cases to treat someone with dignity and compassion. And it’s wrong to blame the care worker for that. All they can do is their best in an impossible situation. Many already work unpaid for extra time to make good the care they know is rushed and inadequate for the disabled or older person.”
CEO of Good Care Group, Fiona Lowry, commented: “These reports highlight why our rigorous recruitment program and industry-leading training programme are so important. Only 5% of people who apply become part of our fully-employed carer team, and they stay with us long-term, completing continuous training and receiving ongoing support from a team of regional managers. Our carers benefit from shorter rota patterns, above-average salaries and paid holidays – they are sufficiently skilled and supported to deliver the highest levels of individual care to your loved ones, and to really improve their quality of life through long-term live-in care, rather than inadequate 15-minute visits.”