The Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Healthwatch England are calling for feedback from unpaid carers following a year which has seen enormous challenges for those working in the health and social care sector, those using services and their loved ones.
The CQC and Healthwatch said unpaid carers have played a greater role than ever before in supporting people with their care needs, providing an incredible contribution in the fight against COVID-19.
In addition to the direct support they provide, carers play a vital role in sharing feedback about their care experiences. That is why as part of the Because We All Care campaign, The CQC and Healthwatch are asking carers to tell them about the care their loved ones receive, positive or negative, across care homes, GP services, hospitals or in the home.
The Because We All Care campaign, which was launched in July and runs extensively on social media, aims to help services identify and address quality issues and support patients by encouraging people to share feedback on individual experiences of health and social care services in England.
People can give feedback on their experiences of care, or those of someone they care for, on the CQC website or through their local Healthwatch. Local Healthwatch organisations can also help with advice and information to access support.
Research undertaken by CQC and Healthwatch as part of their Because We All Care campaign has shown that unpaid carers are already more likely than the general population to provide feedback on health and social care experiences on behalf of loved ones, with 67% reporting they give positive feedback on care. In addition, 58% of carers also said they will be more likely to provide positive feedback on care after the coronavirus pandemic. The research also found that unpaid carers are significantly more likely to have taken action to improve health and social care (71%) than the rest of the population (44%).
Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at CQC said, ‘There are 6.5 million unpaid carers in England and their voices are extremely powerful. We are incredibly grateful that many carers have already shared their experiences of what care is like when delivered in their own home, in care homes, hospitals and GPs - good and bad – this is vital intelligence to CQC and really does make a difference. By the end of December, we carried out over 1900 risk-based inspections using vital intelligence, including from carers and members of the public. I’d like to make a plea that carers continue to talk to us about what care is like as they are our eyes and ears on the ground.’
Sir Robert Francis, CEO of Healthwatch England said, ‘Unpaid carers are the backbone of our health and social care systems and their commitment and compassion have never been more vital. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a big impact on both them and those they care for whilst prompting a huge rise in the number of people taking on caring roles, ranging from shopping for food and collecting medicine to providing emotional support.’
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK said, ‘The changing priorities of our health and care services during the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on unpaid carers, and the last 10 months have been an extraordinary time for them. 81% are providing more care for their loved ones, often because of health and care systems temporarily reducing their services and relatives’ care needs increasing. We encourage carers to have their say on their experiences of health and social care services during the pandemic – good and bad - so that the right improvements can be made for all carers.’
Visit the Care Quality Commission website for more information about the Because we all care campaign.
The NCF asked care providers, in a snapshot survey, to give details of their most challenging staffing situation that they have faced between the 1st January 2021 and the 8th January 2021 across their whole range of services.