What we have to say Opinion and analysis Why your care is so important Holly Fishwick, Digital and Communications Officer at the Patients Association It’s easy to grumble. We all do it. Having a moan can often make us feel better when times are hard. But if we’re really being honest with ourselves, we only do it because it’s much harder to actually stand up and demand change. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) act as the health and social care watchdog. They inspect services, and make sure that everything is as it should be. From dentists, to GPs, to care homes, they regulate the quality of all of these providers and encourage their improvement. In order to do this, they need evidence – and that’s where you come in. If you or a loved one have received care recently, whether good or bad, the CQC want to hear from you. Reporting your care is your right, and the best way to make sure that in the future, all of us receive the best care that we possibly can. Taking responsibility for your care also means a better chance of getting what you need, just as one of our helpline callers found out of herself last year… When one lady picked up the phone to call our helpline in regards to her late daughter, she no longer knew who to turn to. In 2017 our caller’s daughter was admitted to an intensive care unit, where she stayed in the hospital for six months. In the past she suffered from drug addiction and been sectioned. As a concerned mother, our caller made the hospital aware of her past medical history. Despite this, they did not take any further precautions. One day the caller’s daughter went out for an unescorted cigarette break, during which time she walked out of the hospital and didn’t return. While she was out of hospital she collapsed in the street. The police called her mother, who was surprised to hear that her daughter was not in hospital as she had not been contacted informing her otherwise. Tragically, the woman died a couple of days later. At the time of the call the coroner was in the process of investigating the cause of her death and our caller was considering making a formal complaint to the hospital trust. This bereaved mother rang to discuss her options with our helpline advisers. One of suggestions made by our team was offer of sharing her feedback with the CQC, which she accepted. After the CQC contacted us to find out whether they were able to get further information, we got in touch with our caller who was happy for her details to be passed on. The CQC are now acting on her evidence by bringing forward a scheduled inspection of this hospital and using her comments in their report. This should help ensure that these kinds of devastating mistakes don’t happen in the future, helping create a safer NHS for everyone. We’re proud of our partnership with the CQC and we’d love to hear from you too. If you call our helpline on 020 8423 8999, we can provide free and confidential advice and guidance and we can also share your concerns with the CQC anonymously or otherwise. We all have the ability to build a better world – let’s get started today!