Sam Clayden 13 October 2016

Care budgets at 'breaking point' warns report

The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) has today raised concerns that social care is approaching a ‘tipping point’.

The regulators have given their starkest warning yet of the monumental task the sector was facing.

The inspectorate warned that the fragility of adult care markets was now impacting on standards and crossing over to NHS care, with A&E attendances, emergency admissions and delayed discharges all increasing.

NHS Confederation chief executive Stephen Dalton claimed the report proved ‘ongoing cuts to social care, mental health and public health’ were putting increased stress on the NHS.

He said: ‘Relying on a political rhetoric that promises to protect the NHS but fails to acknowledge that a cut in social care results in a cost to the NHS is an economic deception.

The report came as fresh Local Government Association (LGA) analysis claimed the funding gap for social care had now mounted to at least £2.6bn. In its submission to the chancellor, the LGA said the scale of under-funding was such that more providers were set to either pull out of contracts or go bust.

The Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) chief executive Rob Whiteman today called for an independent commission to examine the crisis, warning that health and social care budgets would be ‘stretched to breaking point’ in their current state.

He said the commission should introduce a ‘golden ratio’ that could pledge a minimum 10% of GDP to health and social care spending, claiming this would ‘protect funding from the unpredictability of short-sighted political decisions’.

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