Whilst referencing funding pressures in so far as they impact upon the market's ability to meet future demand, initial findings seem to focus more on short comings of care homes. The findings highlight the following concerns:
- People are struggling to get the information they need to make informed decisions about care
- Complaints procedures are not functioning well
- Some care homes may not treat residents fairly and certain practices and contract terms may break consumer law
- The sector is not in a good position to attract the necessary investment needed to build for the future.
Looking in more detail, it's important that care providers don't get that sense of being persecuted.
Yes, the buck stops with care providers in some areas. It's up to individual providers to engage with stakeholders to make sure that their complaints processes are transparent and robust. See 'Love Your Complaints'. It's a simple customer care principle.
Plus if your care home is in breach of consumer law then that must be fixed; that is your individual responsibility; get your contracts assessed by specialist lawyers in the sector.
Care2Improve Surveys can help with these things. We target residents and relatives directly with structured questions; they help to elicit feelings of discontent, or a sense of not knowing how to complain; they also specifically ask about contract terms. They let you know so you can take action.
But as for points 1 and 2, it is hard to see how a distributed market of diverse providers can take responsibility.
The Care Act puts responsibilities for market information onto Local Authorities. Are they the organisations to have this? If you process map the care journey, it is the health sector which has all of the points of contact for individuals as they step further and further away from independence. This is where that body of knowledge needs to reside.
And as for finance and investment? A whole market overhaul is necessary, funding, of council rights and responsibilities, of central government responsibilities, tax and benefit structures if this old house isn't going to fall down. lets wait and see what the CMA does next? With Social Care high on the agenda, perhaps it won't do a Dilnott?