Social care providers have told a leading sector regulator that they are committed to driving up standards but are being hampered by funding shortages and the ability to recruit nursing and care staff.
Members of the Independent Care Group, meeting at their AGM in York, told Andrea Sutcliffe, CQC Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, that the biggest challenge they now faced was recruitment.
The AGM followed CQC’s latest report on the state of social care, which revealed that 79% of adult social care services in England were ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ but 21% were “requiring improvement” or “inadequate”.
Mike Padgham, the Group’s chair, said too much attention went on to the 21% needing improvement or inadequate and not enough on the rest that were good or outstanding.
He said: “We are not saying that there are not some very unsuitable people in social care. We want them caught and stopped from providing care. But they are a tiny minority.”
He said all providers “got a kicking they didn’t deserve” because of the failings of a few. This was harming the recruitment of carers and nursing staff as it hit morale in the sector.
“So here’s the thing – everyone wants there to be social care services for people when they need it – but the relentless demonising of social care prevents us from recruiting enough of the good people we need,” he added.
“The 79% who are working hard to create a caring culture get tarred with the same brush as people who should not be working in social care. I want to say how proud I am of the care services I know. How proud I am of the people here who go the extra mile. And I know how proud you are of your services and your staff.”
Ms Sutcliffe said she shared providers’ frustration that good care didn’t get the publicity it deserved, and agreed that recruitment was a challenge.
After the AGM, Mr Padgham said there had been consensus that challenges lay ahead and that everyone had to work together to drive up standards.