Most health and adult social care services in England are providing people with safe, high-quality and compassionate care – but pressures are rising on demand, access, and cost – according to the Care Quality Commission whose annual Report to Parliament on the state of health and social care was launched today. The report looks at the trends, highlights examples of good and outstanding care, and identifies factors that maintain high-quality care.
CQC has raised concerns that the sustainability of the adult social care market is “approaching a tipping point”, as the adult social care market faces a combination of challenges such as a growing and ageing population, an increase in the number of people with long-term conditions, and economic constraints. There is a greater demand on services and more problems for people in accessing care. The stark reality is that great care is not the norm for everyone – there is a variation in quality, with around a quarter of adult social care services not consistently providing safe, high-quality and compassionate care. Some providers are struggling to improve and there is emerging evidence of deterioration in quality.
The report finds that despite challenging circumstances, 71% of the adult social care services that CQC had inspected were rated ‘good’ and 1% were ‘outstanding’; 83% of the GP practices inspected were ‘good’ and 4% were ‘outstanding’; and 51% of the core services provided by NHS acute hospital trusts were ‘good’ and 5% were ‘outstanding’.
In relation to mental health services, CQC rated 16 NHS trusts as ‘good’ in July 2016 and 2 as ‘outstanding’ in September 2016. Good and outstanding practice was also found in independent mental health providers, with 103 rated as ‘good’ and 7 rated as ‘outstanding’. However, their overall ratings have suggested that care for people with mental health problems is not good enough and needs to be improved. The report highlights the safety of patients in NHS trusts as an area of concern in particular, with 4 trusts being rated as ‘inadequate’ for the key questions ‘are services safe?’. Amongst other areas of concern, highlighted in the report, were the safety of ward environments; the safety of patients withdrawing from alcohol and opiates; long-stay patients in mental health wards; and providers continuing to apply to register services that are not consistent with the new service model for people with a learning disability.
Kathy Roberts, Chief Executive of MHPF, said:
“Although, we were pleased to see that 2 NHS mental health trusts were rated outstanding recently, the overall ratings suggest that care is not good enough and there needs to be improvement. There seems to be a higher level of variability in the care being provided within and between mental health providers than in acute trusts. There are many challenges facing the health and social care sector and as was highlighted at the report launch event, in order to meet these challenges, there needs to be an emphasis on collaboration between services, especially with the voluntary sector. The role of voluntary and community mental health service providers is key which can be noted by the inclusion of our member, Turning Point, as an example of best practice and a service provider rated ‘outstanding’ in the State of Care report. The VCS sector plays an invaluable role in the design and delivery of vital services both nationally and locally, and it is crucial that this is realised.”
You can read the full State of Care report here.