Almost half of care homes inspected in England found to be failing, figures show

ITV News Social Affairs Correspondent Sarah Corker looks at unsatisfactory state of England's care homes

Thousands of assisted living facilities in England are "failing", according to independent analysis of official inspections data.

Of 2,934 inspections carried out in the year to December 2022, almost half (1,224) were rated as either inadequate or requiring improvement, by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Many families have been left "devastated" at the state of care their elderly relatives received during this time.

Lisa Topping who paid for her mother Shirley's care in Wigan, said: "It was horrible, devastating, they left her in states where she can't fend for herself."

Claire Rintoul, Chief Executive of Sheffield-based charity Sheffcare, says not enough money is invested in social care.

She said: "Nobody wants to fix it, nobody wants to own it. That means we can't afford to pay staff what they're worth, it makes it difficult to recruit staff, it makes it difficult to retain staff.

"I just think it's a national disgrace."

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June Hill who also works at Sheffcare, loves her job but says she's not receiving enough to live off.

She said: "We're not asking for a lot, we do love the residents and we care for them.

"But we should be able to pay our bills, eat food and live basic lives."

There are 23,793 care homes in England, with 16% (309) rated inadequate or requiring improvement (3654). Of the 2,934 inspections carried out in 2022, 237 were inadequate and 1,224 required improvement.

It paints a "deeply concerning" picture of England's social care system, said Independent Care Inspections, an accredited care homes inspection body which shared its analysis of the CQC figures with ITV NewsThe CQC however insisted the "majority of care homes are good or outstanding" and pointed out that it had only inspected care homes with cause for concern in 2022 and was "undertaking a programme of risk-based inspections".

Shirley Topping had a 'horrible' experience in a care home Credit: ITV News

To have an inadequate rating, the CQC has assessed that the "service is performing badly and we've taken action against the person or organisation that runs it".

Any care home requiring improvement is "not performing as well as it should" and the CQC has told it how it must improve.

A spokesperson for the CQC said: “For the period covered in this analysis, CQC was undertaking a programme of risk-based inspections.

"This was to ensure our inspection activity was focused on locations in which the quality of care was of concern.”

They added: “Where concerns are brought to our attention we will not hesitate to act.

"We will always follow up on information of concern, and where there is risk we will inspect to ensure that people are safe and receiving high quality care.

"Where we find people are at risk we will take further regulatory action to ensure people’s safety and human rights are upheld.”

Just 20 of those the CQC inspected in the year to 2022 were rated as outstanding - less than 1%. 

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are committed to working with a range of stakeholders on how best to improve adult social care and we have made up to £7.5 billion available over the next two years to support services – the biggest funding increase in history.”

They added: “In Spring we will publish a plan for adult social care system reform, setting out how we will build on this progress over the next 2 years.”

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