CQC warns of growing ‘care injustice’, with access to good care increasingly dependent on how well local systems work together
From the Care Quality Commission
- State of Care report recognises the efforts of staff, leaders and carers to ensure people continue receiving good and safe care.
- CQC reviews of local health and care systems found that ineffective collaboration between local health and care services is impacting people’s access to support in their community.
- Impact of ineffective systems also affects those accessing mental health services, young people living with mental health needs, older persons and services such as hospital emergency departments and adult social care services.
- Report highlights variances in care dependent on where people live.
This year’s State of Care shows that most people are still getting good care – when they can access it.
The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) annual assessment of the quality of health and social care in England shows that overall, quality has been largely maintained, and in some cases improved, from last year. This is despite continuing challenges around demand and funding, coupled with significant workforce pressures as all sectors struggle to recruit and retain staff. The efforts of staff, leaders and carers to ensure that people continue to receive good, safe care despite these challenges must be recognised and applauded.
However, it is clear that people’s experience of care varies depending on where they live; and that these experiences are often determined by how well different parts of local systems work together. Some people can easily access good care, while others cannot access the services they need, experience ‘disjointed’ care, or only have access to providers with poor services.
CQC’s reviews of local health and care systems found that ineffective collaboration between local health and care services can result in people not being able to access the care and support services in the community that would avoid unnecessary admissions to hospital, which in turn leads to increased demand for acute services.
The most visible impact of this is the pressure on emergency departments as demand continues to rise, with July 2018 seeing the highest number of attendances on record. Emergency departments are the core hospital service most likely to be rated requires improvement (41%) or inadequate (7%). A struggling local hospital can be symptomatic of a struggling local health care system. This indicates that – although good and outstanding primary care is more evenly distributed – there are parts of the country where people are less likely to get good care.