The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has today published its overview of the state of health care and adult social care in England – “State of Care 2015/16”.
The CQC in particular praised children’s and young people’s services, critical care and primary medical services which continue to provide high quality care. However, concern is expressed that current examples of good care and improved performance may not be sustainable.
By contrast, the CQC also identified evidence of a deterioration in quality. A significant number of care homes and home care agencies were unable to improve their rating from inadequate and the growth in nursing home beds has stalled. Acute care and NHS mental health trusts had too high a proportion of inadequate ratings and the safety of acute mental health services was a particular concern for the CQC.
The growing and ageing population is increasing demand and causing difficulties for access to care. A tipping point is being approached where pressure on primary care services and a fragile adult social care market impacts upon service users and secondary care.
The CQC acknowledged that providers are subject to tough financial conditions, but suggests that these pressures can be overcome if providers look at changing the way in which care is delivered and work through collaboration with other services and sectors – thinking ‘outside traditional organisational boundaries’. Closer co-operation between different types of providers could be key to improving and maintaining the level of care provided.
With NHS providers overspending their budgets by £2.45 billion by the end of 2015/16, it is clear that dramatic changes are required. Sharing resources between providers and pooling funding could lead to rationalised, streamlined services being provided in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.
The implications of a failure to evolve will be costly, both financially and in terms of patient safety.
BLM will be attending the forthcoming Care Roadshows in Cardiff, on 18 October, and Epsom, on 15 November, and will be happy to advise further on the implications of the CQC’s State of Care findings.