The publication of this year’s influential State of care report rightly shines a welcome spotlight on the precarious position of social care before the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as well as the more recent and momentous impact of COVID-19 on England’s health and care systems.
The Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG), the national infrastructure body representing organisations within the voluntary sector who work alongside disabled people, welcomes this comprehensive picture. There is an encouraging focus on how COVID-19 has had a disproportionate effect on some people with protected characteristics, including how disabled people have been among those hit hardest by the pandemic and its knock-on effects.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in March, VODG has raised concerns about how the government’s response has overlooked the rights and entitlements of disabled people and of the workforce supporting them. This has been alongside a continued call for the government to put social care on a strong and sustainable footing – instead of dishing out quick-fix solutions.
VODG hopes that today’s publication will encourage the government to finally address the historic and sustained political failure to fully recognise, understand and fund equitable care and support services.
Dr Rhidian Hughes, chief executive of VODG, said:
“We welcome CQC’s continued spotlight on the most pressing issues within the sector as well as its unique perspective, which gives us a broad view across health and social care at a time of particular concern.
“The pandemic has exacerbated the need for reform, investment, and sensible workforce planning for the social care sector. It has also highlighted the government’s lack of recognition for working age adult social care services and the inequities that exist for many people with protected characteristics – as CQC rightly reports, the pandemic has exacerbated the challenges already faced by the UK’s 14.1 million disabled people and the social care sector that supports them.
“COVID-19 has also shone a spotlight on the significant role voluntary sector disability organisations play in supporting people and their families and of the local community services that play such an important role in people’s lives.
“While it is reassuring that CQC’s State of care report had identified and acknowledged these issues, we can only hope that the government finally takes notice and addresses these issues as a matter of urgency.
“For many years, the annual State of care report has highlighted the precarious financial state of the social care sector and the growing demands placed on it. “Today’s report provides yet another reminder of the impact this sustained lack of funding is having on the sector, only now, it has been truly magnified and worsened by the pandemic.
“The government must now seize the chance to ensure its ongoing response to the pandemic, and future planning for the social care sector, is fully inclusive and responsive to the needs of all the people it serves.”