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Adult social care sector under 'stress and strain'

Published 09/08/2015

More than 150 allegations of abuse against the frail and elderly are being lodged every day, figures show
More than 150 allegations of abuse against the frail and elderly are being lodged every day, figures show

The chief inspector of adult social care has warned the sector is under "stress and strain" - as figures reportedly reveal more than 150 allegations of abuse against the frail and elderly are being lodged every day.

Andrea Sutcliffe said cuts in funding has put pressure on carers, who can feel overworked and under-valued, undermining the work they do.

She told The Observer: "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.

"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."

Over the past five years adult social care budgets have been cut by £4.6 billion, according to the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS).

A freedom of information request by the Observer revealed the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the health and social care watchdog, was notified of 30,000 allegations of abuse involving people using social care services in the first six months of this year.

Allegations ranged from physical, emotional and sexual abuse, to financial fraud.

The rate at which allegations of abuse have been made doubled between 2011 and 2015 , the newspaper reported.

According to an analysis of 2013-14 figures, in more than half (57%) of allegations in care homes it was a professional carer who was the alleged abuser.

Across the social care sector professional carers were identified as the abuser in a third of cases.

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 front-line 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."

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