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  1. ITV Report

Care watchdog: Elderly and disabled services under threat from financial pressures

The CQC is set to release its annual assessment of care in England. Credit: Uwe Anspach/ DPA/ PA Images

Care services for elderly and disabled people in England are being undermined by increasing financial pressures, the care watchdog has reportedly warned.

In its annual assessment of care in England, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said the quality and safety of services was increasingly under threat.

It found that the number of care homes has fallen dramatically as providers struggle with rising costs such as the introduction of the living wage, and the tightening of local council budgets.

In its report the CQC also warns MPs of the impact that deteriorating social care will have on the wider NHS, according to The Guardian.

Andrea Sutcliffe, chief inspector of adult social care at the watchdog, told the newspaper: "We know that the adult social care sector faces many financial pressures which, worryingly, could undermine the quality and safety of care that people receive and rely upon every day."

Ms Sutcliffe said the information "does highlight a concern that the long-term sustainability of high-quality care within this sector could be at risk. Given the impact this would have on people's lives, it is important that we continue to monitor these trends closely".

There has been a significant fall in the number of care homes, the CQC found. Credit: Uwe Anspach / DPA/PA Images

The chief inspector was responding to reports that a leaked internal document based on data received from 39 large providers had revealed how capacity in the social care sector was shrinking.

The memo reportedly showed an 8% fall in the number of care homes in the last six years.

18,068
Care homes in September 2010
16,614
Care homes in September 2016
255,289
Beds available in care homes in September 2010
235,799
Beds available in care homes in September 2016

The number of nursing homes increased marginally, from 4,387 to 4,623, but the number of residential homes for the elderly fell from 13,681 to 11,991, equal to more than one in 10.

The report said data showed "a local authority funded service user problem. Notwithstanding recent fee increases, the historic level of underfunding remains and in some cases has probably increased as a result of (the) national living wage".

The CQC is due to present its annual State of Care report to Parliament on Thursday.