CQC’s first insight report on the impact of COVID on the adult social care sector

Taking its toll on staff and the financial viability of the sector.

Care staff working in the ASC sector report low morale, feeling ‘undervalued compared to their healthcare counterparts’ with some registered care home managers reported suffering from ‘burn out and extreme anxiety’. The regulator’s report also states that inspections teams are dealing with “…an increase in care home managers suffering from distress due to multiple deaths and financial worries.”

And this was a sector under pressure even before the pandemic...

The regulator’s COVID insight report is the first in a series of reports assessing the impact on the health and social care sector.

Focusing on adult social care, the report reviews data on outbreaks, deaths and availability of PPE and, in particular, highlights the impact of the crisis on staff wellbeing and the financial viability of ASC services.

According to its report, the financial concerns for ASC services were highlighted in the CQC’s Market Oversight report in March 2020 where it explained that:

“…any further shocks to the labour market would be expected to increase the existing level of market fragility, place more pressure on local authority finances and possibly increase unmet care needs.”

There are also reports of some providers ‘struggling’ financially with the cost of PPE, including having to pay ‘inflated costs’ to source what they ‘desperately’ need is an issue for the sector.

In addition, the CQC have heard concerns over insurance companies informing providers that, if they knowingly took COVID-19 positive patients, they would be in breach of their insurance.

Equally, some providers needing to renew their insurance have been unable to do so – with the “…risk that they may have to move residents elsewhere if this can’t be found.”

At a recent LaingBuisson webinar on risk and liability where we heard from Philip Dearn, Healthcare Practice Leader at Marsh he explained:

"Unfortunately for the care sector in particular covid-19 is having a very negative impact from an insurance buying perspective and as many providers look at future ways of managing risk and the business impact of the pandemic this creates another unwanted challenge.”

Dearn suggested that some insurers were looking at premium increases of as much as 50 percent – providers would do well to have early conversations with their insurers.  

On an upward note, Kate Terroni, CQC’s Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, said:

“There are excellent examples across the country of good joined-up care between health and social care professionals working together to keep people safe.

… We’ve also heard of CCGs working with local authorities to provide all local care homes with an iPad and video conferencing so that GPs can do virtual ward rounds in addition to physical visits. 

However, some providers are telling us that community health support has been reduced as the coronavirus response has resulted in resources being diverted elsewhere. As acute services start to move towards a more stable position, the community health offer –both to care homes and people who have care and support needs met in their own homes –must be a priority.”

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