“Patients should never have to fight to receive the care that they need and deserve” 
- Rachel Power, CEO, Patients Association

Today’s ‘State of Care’ report from the Care Quality Commission contains some alarming findings. People can’t access the care that they need, where and when they need it. Those with complex needs or mental health conditions are particularly likely to encounter this, and the report shows they are experiencing poor – and at times, unsafe – care.

The CQC regulates the quality of health and social care services in England, and this report, their yearly evaluation of care services, shows an overstretched workforce struggling to offer appropriate care to patients. They describe a “perfect storm” where lack of access to GP appointments and inadequate local community healthcare options are putting an additional strain on A&E services, where the level of care has deteriorated.

Rachel Power, CEO of the Patients Association is clear: “Patients should never have to fight to receive the care that they need and deserve” she says, “yet time and time again this is the story we hear.  

Insufficient staffing, leading to services that are stretched too thinly, is having real-life consequences for patients, especially those with complex needs and mental health issues.

“People with mental health issues, learning disabilities or autism deserve better than to be seen by people lacking the skills, training and experience to properly care for them” says Power. “Too often their care is compromised in this way. 

The Patients Association believes it is fundamental that steps are taken to address this crisis of funding and workforce. With pressures on A&E already reaching winter-time levels in July, a sustained cold weather or a bad flu season could see the NHS facing the worst winter in modern times.

“Urgent action is needed to protect patients, and staff,” says Power. “While we welcome recent funding announcements, a far deeper investment is needed across health and social care in order to prevent this potentially devastating situation.” 

The Patients Association partners with the CQC and we regularly refer helpline callers to them to ensure that their experiences are being heard. If you need help or advice you can call our freephone helpline on 0800 345 7115 (Mon - Fri, 9.30am – 5pm) or check out our information leaflets online.