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NCF responds to CQC State of Care Report 2020/21

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published its annual assessment of the state of health and care in England in 2020/21. The report focuses on four key themes; people’s experiences of care, flexibility to respond to the pandemic, ongoing quality concerns and challenges for the system.

Vic Rayner OBE, CEO of the National Care Forum (NCF) – the leading association for not for profit care providers says:

“The report recognises the heavy toll that the pandemic has had on individuals who deliver and receive care. It highlights how COVID-19 has exacerbated the underlying problems of the health and social care system and has further increased the inequalities of access to care for some groups, including those who have a learning disability.

“The report has highlighted, very clearly, the central role that social care plays, both in the lives of the people and their families who need it and in the wider health system. It shows the fundamental place that social care providers have in helping to innovate and respond to changing and increasing need in very challenging circumstances.”

The NCF has been vocal and consistent in raising the challenges and pressures faced by the workforce throughout the pandemic, especially in the last few months where the huge workforce shortages have been increasing by the day.

Rayner continues:

“One of the strongest messages woven throughout the report relates to the social care workforce where the CQC recognise the situation facing the sector as ‘serious and deteriorating’. They describe a workforce that is exhausted and depleted, for whom the increased pressures of the last 18 months have caused stress and burnout.”

The NCF welcomes the recommendations from the CQC that urgent action is needed now to tackle these serious staffing issues and agree with their call for ‘a sharp focus on developing a clearly defined career pathway for social care staff – linked to training and supported by consistent investment, higher overall levels of pay to increase the competitiveness of the market, and good terms and conditions to ensure employers can attract and retain the right people.’

Rayner continues:

“The CQC report provides an alarming but familiar picture of the very real challenges facing the adult social care sector. Many of the actions they are calling for echo the stark messages that we have been giving for several months now – the urgent need for action to support the workforce with a retention bonus and an immediate pay increase, along with care workers being included in the Shortage Occupation List. The £162.5 million additional workforce retention and recruitment fund announced yesterday is a drop in the ocean of what is really needed to address these challenges.”

Finally, looking to the future, the CQC also emphasises the opportunity to build a better health and care system  – one that works for everyone, one that focuses on outcomes for people and one that puts social care at the heart of that system: ‘integrated care systems must set out plans for how social care and all parts of the health and care system work better together to respond to the needs of their local community’

Rayner concludes:

“It is very clear that integrated care systems will not work unless and until social care providers are an equal partner at the table. Social care providers need to be recognised as leaders in integration, without whom the potential for a truly effective integrated health & care system will be impossible to achieve.”


Note to Editors:

  • The National Care Forum brings together over 150 of the UK’s leading social care organisations, representing large numbers of care providers, offering thousands of services across the country, which are not for profit and always at the heart of community provision. Collectively, these organisations deliver more than £2 billion of social care support to more than 167,000 people in 9,200 settings. The NCF membership body collectively employs more than 95,500 colleagues.
  • CQC State of Care Report 2020/21 –
  • More information is available on the National Care Forum at @NCFCareForum @vicrayner @NCF_Liz
  • For enquiries, please contact Edna Petzen,

*In April 2021 £341million was provided for the period 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021. In July 2021 £251 Million was provided for the period 1 July 2021 to 30 September 2021. The current funding level of £388 covers a six month p

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