Cuts to social care budgets are just putting more elderly and vulnerable people at risk

Sir Kevin Barron MP
Sir Kevin Barron MP

Many of you will have seen news reports of abuse in care homes across England, writes Sir Kevin Barron MP

When someone is no longer able to live independently in their own home it is a big deal for everyone involved, and everyone needs to be reassured that the care home is safe and adequately staffed by well-qualified, well-supported and well-supervised carers and nurses.

Sadly, that is not always the case.

While the combined findings of Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspections and staff surveys indicate that poor standards of care and neglect are widespread, instances of deliberate abuse are rare.

Nevertheless, a single case of abuse or neglect is one too many.

Councils have safeguarding duties to prevent abuse and neglect and stop it quickly when it happens.

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The Government also maintains that it has strengthened the powers of the CQC to prosecute providers for unacceptable care.

It is a legal requirement that care providers must ensure the safety, welfare, privacy and dignity of services users at all times.

Yet councils have seen cuts of nearly £16 billion since 2010 and I am concerned that these cuts are putting vulnerable people at risk.

The proportion of care homes rated ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ increased in one in five local authorities in 2017.

And a small number of councils say cuts mean they are not confident they can continue to meet their safeguarding duties.

I will continue to press the Government to invest in the social care system to ensure that older and vulnerable people receive the high-quality care they deserve.