The Care Quality Commission’s State of Care report confirms everything we hear from patients: it is becoming increasingly difficult for patients to access the health and care services they need to live healthy, independent lives.

The unstable state of health and care services described in this report are the result not just of the effects of the pandemic on the NHS, but also a long term failure to invest in the health and care system, a decade of austerity, a lack of a rational workforce strategy, and ignoring the fact that the country’s demographics are changing towards an older, sicker population.

Strategic approach

This failure to plan is now jeopardising people’s health and patient safety across all parts of the system.  As the CQC says: “Solutions to the problems that affect people’s care can only come from long-term planning and investment”. We would add that there is a need for a sustained, strategic approach across the whole of government, aligning other department’s policies with that of the Department of Health and Social Care, if we are to seriously improve the nation’s health and well-being.

The Government needs to take the CQC’s report seriously and act now. A long term workforce strategy is urgently needed to both recruit the staff we need and prevent existing staff from leaving. The NHS and care must be protected in any austerity measures the Chancellor maybe planning. Social care needs urgent and immediate investment, which should be followed by the development of a new funding approach, one that pools risk across the population and introduces sustainable new funds over the long term.

Maternity care

Published in the same week as the Kirkup report into East Kent maternity services, which said its findings could not be considered an “isolated failure, a freak event that ‘will never happen again’.” State of Care finds “issues with culture, leadership, and a lack of genuine engagement with people who use” maternity services and services for people with a learning disabilities and autism. Clearly, cultures in maternity units and care services must change: patients and their families must be listened to, services must be developed and delivered in partnership with those using them, and patients must be able to count on kind and compassionate care.

You can read the CQC's report in full.

Read our Chief Executive, Rachel Power's blog on the report into maternity services in East Kent, also published this week.

21st October 2022