Responding to the CQC's report 'Beyond barriers: how older people move between health and social care', John Kell, Head of Policy at the Patients Association, said:

“This report is a valuable portrait of local health and social care systems as they work today – and why they must change in order to serve patients better.

“Services to keep people well in their own homes, and to get them out of hospital after an admission, are over-stretched and do not work well enough together. Locally, patients generally do not encounter a co-ordinated system that meets their needs; rather, they find uncertainty and gaps in care and support. There are good examples, but they are driven by good local leadership and effective practice by professionals, and occur despite, not because of, the system.

“We hope the coming plan for the NHS will be the crucial step in delivering change through investment in community services. We need to see much more joined-up and effective services in the community, and much clearer leadership and accountability so that local systems focus clearly on meeting patients' needs, and can be put right if they go wrong.

“Patients' needs are changing, largely thanks to the past successes of the NHS in the face of illnesses that in the past would have been fatal on a greater scale; now the NHS needs to change to meet the next set of challenges, which are articulated so clearly in the CQC's report.”