The quality of standards in Norfolk's care firms is getting better, according to a new report, but critics say there is still a long way to go to improve services for the county's most vulnerable.

Concerns have been raised in recent months that the percentage of care providers rated as good or outstanding by Care Quality Commission watchdogs was at less than 70pc.

That figure was some way below the council's target of 85pc, which is close to the national average.

Eastern Daily Press: The standard of care in Norfolk has improvedThe standard of care in Norfolk has improved (Image: PRESS ASSOCIATION)

Last summer, the Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System - the partnership through which council chiefs and NHS bosses work together on services - launched a new programme to increase the number of good care providers.

And a new report shows that, since then, the proportion of providers judged good or better has improved month-on-month and now stands at 71pc - up from 69pc in December 2022.

The matter will be discussed at a meeting of Norfolk County Council's people and communities committee on Friday (July 14).

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Eastern Daily Press: Conservative county councillor Fran WhymarkConservative county councillor Fran Whymark (Image: Archant)

Fran Whymark, Conservative chairman of the committee said: "It is positive that we are seeing month-on-month improvements in quality but we want to ensure that this momentum continues, so that more people can have access to good social care.

"No single agency can deliver good health and social care outcomes for people on its own so bringing our providers, commissioners and supporting partners together is vital for improving quality."

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Eastern Daily Press: Brian Watkins, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Norfolk County CouncilBrian Watkins, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Norfolk County Council (Image: Liberal Democrats)

Brian Watkins, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Norfolk County Council, welcomed the improvement.

But he added: "However, there is much work that still needs to be done to ensure that overall quality across the board is much better than it has been before.

"The care market in Norfolk is still very fragile, and service users and their families still have big doubts about whether loved ones will receive appropriate care if or when the need arises."

Green county councillor Paul Neale said: "In reality a 2pc improvement is still 14pc below the council's own targets.

"Until governments put in realistic resources and funding the council cannot pay these firms adequately to recruit and retain the level of staff needed to reach the good or outstanding Care Quality Commission standards."