​Responding to the state of care in England

by Micheala Blanche

The CQC published The state of health care and adult social care in England 2016/17 report on 10 October 2017. It is their annual assessment of health and social care in England. The report looks at the trends, highlights examples of good and outstanding care, and identifies factors that maintain high-quality care. Below we look at the four key areas.

Health and care services are at full stretch

An ageing population with increasing number of people with complex, chronic or multiple conditions. We’re living longer than we have ever lived before and the associated strain that puts on providers can no longer be ignored.

Care providers are under pressure and staff resilience is not inexhaustible

Staff and the services they work for under huge pressure, working harder to deliver the quality of care that people have the right to expect. Skills for care estimate there are around 90,000 adult social care staff vacancies across England. The report does identify, however, that even given these pressures, the quality of care and support remains high.

The acknowledgement of the pressure that health and care staff are under whilst still delivering higher quality care is welcome. Although as the report itself notes, staff resilience is not inexhaustible and all the data suggests staff vacancies will continue to rise. Providers need help from the Government to resolve these issues. While we try to combat limited funding and the pressures faced by support workers with other types of rewards and benefits for staff, as a sector, we need to be able to make jobs in social care more appealing.

The quality of care across England is mostly good but there is too much variation and some services have deteriorated

All registered health and adult social care services have now been inspected. The report concluded that people are receiving safer, more effective, compassionate and high-quality care.

The report identifies that “people should be able to expect good, safe care when they need it regardless of how this care is delivered”. At Voyage Care, we are proud to have sector-leading quality scores with in excess of 94% of all homes and services rated as good or outstanding. However, we are very aware that we have been able to achieve these ratings by maintaining a constant drive for improvements for all people. We are committed to continuing this ethos and embed continuous improvement in all we do – putting the people we support at the heart of our mission.

Voyage Care quality scores in the sector pie chart

To put people first, there must be more local collaboration and joined-up care

The report identified wide variation in how health and social care systems join up. Some local systems are working together effectively but too many people receive fragmented care.

At Voyage Care, we are passionate about building good networks that provide the best and most well-informed care and support. We actively seek opportunities to work closely within the communities we are based and with multi-disciplinary teams.

Part of our commitment to this initiative has seen us further develop our specialisms and consequently strengthen partnerships with other organisations, such as Headway - the brain injury association.

Also, our recent large-scale partnership with the National Autistic Society (NAS) has allowed us to introduce additional quality standards over and above the regulatory requirements for autistic people.

The report places a large focus on putting people first and the delivery of person-centred care. If there is one thing that I believe really defines Voyage Care, it is the consistent message that I hear from all levels of staff, regardless of whether they work in a service or at Group Support – we’re all here to improve the lives of the people we support. A person-centred approach comes naturally to our teams and we have recently reviewed and updated our person-centred reviews, which are mandatory for all people supported.

We are proud to not only meet assessed / identified needs, but that to undertake this with a full awareness and consideration of personal likes, dislikes and preferences.

Our commitment to good leadership and valuing our employees is central to our values and culture enabling us to achieve our sector leading outcomes in spite of sector wide challenges.