The role of Jersey’s Care Commission is to regulate and inspect a range of services for both adults and children; to provide the people of Jersey with assurance about the quality and reliability of health and social care services.
In 2022 the Commission carried out over 120 inspections and established that the quality and safety of care delivered in care homes and in the community is generally good. They have also identified examples of providers delivering exceptional care.
However, emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Commission through its regulatory programme of work, has evidence that the adult social care sector is experiencing significant challenges and risks which, without a mitigating plan in place, will adversely impact on outcomes and the quality of care.
In response to the concerns raised throughout the process of regulating and inspecting the care sector the Commission has issued a report ‘Addressing Challenges and Risks in Social Care’. The report explores specific matters which are currently impacting the sector which pose continuing risks.
There are three specific matters which are:
- care staff vacancy rates are increasing
- demand on local care services is intensifying
- care providers are reporting that workforce shortages are having an adverse impact on the care sector’s capacity and capability.
Becky Sherrington (pictured) Chief Inspector said, “The Commission, by producing this report, is wishing to stimulate thought and debate on the level of current risk. We are also urging the Government to consider how it supports the social care market, which is required to continue to deliver a wide range of sustainable high-quality care services within the community.
“Without positive intervention, the current and worsening situation means that the Commission cannot discount the real possibility of a future care system failure.”
Jersey’s Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Karen Wilson, said: “A strong, resilient and effective social care sector is critical to the Island. Social care providers – in the care home and domiciliary care sectors – both care for people living in our community and play a key role in reducing pressures on the hospital services that we all use. Put simply, our healthcare system cannot function without social care providers and their skilled, dedicated staff.
“This Government recognises the challenges that the Jersey Care Commission has so clearly set out in its report. We are already taking action but it is clear we must do more, and do so quickly. Over the last few months, the Chief Minister has established a new Population and Skills Ministerial Group focused on addressing the barriers to recruitment and retention of key workers in Jersey, including barriers related to housing and access to health care, and on maximising the participation of the existing Island workforce. The Chief Minister has already taken direct action to extend care agencies’ ability to recruit skilled workers from off-Island.
“Furthermore, in response to the recent review of clinical governance in the Health and Community Services Department, I have committed to establishing a strategic health unit which will lead on policy and strategy. This unit will coordinate and strengthen the relationship between the Sector and the whole of Government, ensuing a single point of leadership through myself as Minister for Health and Social Services.
“This work is a starting point, but I recognise that we need to build both capacity and resilience into our system. We need a better understanding of current and future demand; we need more skilled workers, people who feel respected and valued for the work they do and – as rightly pointed out by the Jersey Care Commission – we need to support care providers to manage inflationary pressures while avoiding passing spiralling costs on to members of our community.
“I would like to thank the Jersey Care Commission for their work. In publishing this report, they are urging government to consider how it can better support the social care sector. I am accepting that challenge.”