In its annual assessment of the state of health and social care in England, the Care Quality Commission looked at the quality of health and care both before the Covid-19 outbreak, and during the pandemic.
On social care, its assessment was: COVID-19 has not only exposed but exacerbated existing problems. The sector, already fragile, faced significant challenges around access to PPE, testing and staffing – and coordinated support was less readily available than for the NHS. The long-standing need for reform, investment and workforce planning in adult social care has been thrown into stark relief by the pandemic.
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:
“Too often unpaid carers struggled to get what they needed from the health and care systems before the pandemic. In many cases, this led to them going years without getting a significant break from their caring role, and saw more than 600 people a day making the difficult decision to give up work to provide care for relatives.
“Now during the pandemic carers are being placed under even more pressure, with 70% providing many hours of additional care for their relatives through lockdown - a third doing so because crucial care services closed around them. 89% of carers saw their NHS treatments cancelled or postponed, compared to 77% of the general public.
“Carers’ mental and physical health has to be prioritised over the coming months in order to help them manage. It is also vital that the social care system receives sufficient funding over the winter so that England’s families can enjoy some quality of life. The baseline of need has now changed, and so the Government’s long-promised plan for reform is an urgent necessity that must come quickly for the sake of families everywhere.”