The charity has responded to the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC’s) annual assessment of the state of health & adult social care in England looking at the quality of care over the past year.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said: “Today’s report from CQC paints an alarming picture. Just about every service from dentistry to social care is over stretched, short staffed and clearly struggling to provide safe and timely access for everyone who needs it.
“Sadly, for many older people, families and carers none of this will come as a surprise. We regularly hear from older people battling to get an appointment, waiting for essential treatment or a diagnosis, or endlessly trying – and often failing – to put reliable care arrangements in place. No wonder that many are anxious that they’ll experience permanent damage to their health or independence in the meantime. The situation is bad enough for older people with someone to help them, like a family member or friend, and with the wherewithal to pay for some help, but for anyone without these resources or safety net, it is a frightening place to be at the moment.
“The report’s findings on social care are especially concerning. For years CQC has joined others in the sector warning that social care was at a tipping point, and it is now clear that provision has broken down in some parts of the country.
“And perhaps worst of all, and despite the very best efforts of staff, the very thing that we value most as a nation – the idea of treatment and care being there for all of us, whenever we need it – can now no longer be guaranteed.
“The one silver lining is signs that Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) – bringing together everyone working across the NHS and social care with communities in their area – are starting to make a difference. Developing new ways of working that are much more proactive are essential for older people and those with more complex needs. Yet as the report also notes, this isn’t a challenge that ICSs can or need to tackle alone. At sub-regional ICS level and more locally too, there is huge potential for the NHS and local authorities to work differently with their partners, especially with their local VCSE, to help older people stay safe and well at home for longer.”