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CQC warns of social care services 'tipping point'

Nearly a fifth of social care providers in England have been rated 'requires improvement', according to a CQC report published today.

Although a majority of providers were rated ‘good’ in the CQC's inspection round of more than 24,000 locations around the country, the regulator warned there was a risk of social care reaching 'tipping point'.

The warning comes as GPs have pleaded for increased resources to help vulnerable patients, as safeguarding referrals have risen by 15% in recent years, as councils struggle to adequately fund social care services.

Almost four out of five adult social care services in England were rated as good or outstanding overall, according to the CQC’s report, but nearly a fifth of services were rated as requires improvement. The CQC said that it was ‘particularly concerned’ about the 343 locations (2%) that were still rated as inadequate.

The CQC said in the State of Care 2014-2017 report that the quality of services differed from region to region, with the East of England showing almost 10% more locations rated as good or outstanding than the North West.

Community social care services were rated the best overall. The CQC said that nursing homes remain the biggest concern and that in general, smaller services designed to care for fewer people were rated better than larger services.

The report said: 'State of Care finds that the sustainability of the adult social care market is approaching a tipping point. This view is based on the evidence of inspections, information received through our market oversight function, and external data.

'The fragility of the adult social care market is now beginning to impact both on the people who rely on these services and on the performance of NHS care.

'The combination of a growing and ageing population, more people with long-term conditions, and a challenging economic climate means greater demand on services and more problems for people in accessing care.'

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