Social care regulators receive 150 allegations relating to the abuse of vulnerable adults and the elderly every day, new figures reveal.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC), who regulate and inspect health and social care services, said they received 30,000 claims in the first six months of this year - with allegations ranging from physical, emotional and sexual abuse to financial fraud. It is double the rate at which allegations were received in 2011, according to the figures obtained by the Observer under the Freedom of Information Act.
The rise comes after a report by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, which is made up of senior figures from local authorities across England, found that councils had cut their spending on adult social care by £4.6 billion in the past four years.
The chief inspector of adult social care at the CQC said that the sector was under “stress and strain,” leaving care workers feeling undervalued and overworked.
Andrea Sutcliffe said: “That potentially means that they may leave, and we do see turnover, but it also may mean that they end up being the sort of care worker that you wouldn’t want them to be because the system around them isn’t supportive.”
She told the Observer: “The social care sector is certainly under stress and strain. And that is a combination of all sorts of factors – the increased numbers of people who need care and support, the increased complexity of their needs. But the other thing I would pick up on with the stresses and strain on the system, and the impact on quality, is the role of the commissioners and the funders.
“There is an important responsibility in the role of those funding care – local authorities or clinical commissioning groups – to really understand what the true cost of care is, what true quality looks like and to make sure they are commissioning services that meet those standards and providers are given the appropriate funding to enable then to do that.”
A Department of Health spokesman said: “Abuse and neglect are completely unacceptable at all times, and whatever the cause we are determined to stamp them out. We need to understand what lies behind these figures – an increase in awareness and reporting of abuse is to be welcomed so that proper action can be taken.
“Treating someone with dignity and compassion doesn’t cost anything. We’re making sure we recruit people with the right values and skills by introducing a ‘fit and proper person’ test for directors and a care certificate for frontline staff. The CQC’s new tougher inspection regime will also help to make sure that if abuse does occur, it’s caught quickly and dealt with.”