The cost of social care rocketed over the last year, even as the proportion of services ranked good or outstanding fell, according to a new analysis.
Social care services directory TrustedCare.co.uk found that the price of a week in a care home jumped by almost a quarter over the last year, from an average of £557.86 a week to £686.32, while the cost of a nursing home rose more than a third from £692.17 per week to £924.82. The price per hour of care visits also rose, from £15.01 to £17.02.
The analysis was based on data from providers registered on TrustedCare, as well as calls made by its researchers to more than 100 services in each English county over the last four months.
Social care in the UK is provided through a mixture of individuals and government payments. However, concerns are growing over the system’s ability to cope with an ageing population and pressures on local government and NHS budgets.
TrustedCare’s researchers also looked at data from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which regulates and monitors social care, and found a 9% drop in the proportion of services ranked as either good or outstanding from 88.9% in 2015 to 79.8% over the past year.
The data, which was first compiled by the website in 2015, also showed large variation between regions.
Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Northamptonshire all saw about 90% of their services rated as good or higher, but less than 70% achieved the standard in Greater Manchester or West Yorkshire. There was also no firm correlation between price and the quality of services in an area, with Northamptonshire having one of the lowest average prices for care despite a high proportion of services rated good or outstanding.
The TrustedCare chief executive, Mark Walford, said the figures underlined the complexity of care services across the UK.
“The data shows once more that there is a complex mix of factors that affect the quality and cost of care, and that there isn’t a strong correlation between areas of affluence and local care quality as one might expect, despite a strong link to price of care,” he said. “Instead, factors such as local employment markets, local authority commissioning rates and the level of cooperation between local NHS and social care teams are sure to play into the mix.”
The CQC declined to comment on TrustedCare’s quality figures, which it said did not tally with its own reports.
Andrea Sutcliffe, the CQC’s chief inspector of adult social care, said: “Our state of care report published in October indicated that there is variability in care across the country, with over 70% of services rated as good or outstanding, which is an increase compared with 2015.
“However, we also raised our concerns that adult social care is approaching a tipping point with over a quarter of services rated as requires improvement and a further 2% as inadequate and many of these services struggling to improve.”
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