A new report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – described as providing the fullest picture yet of the state of care across England – has highlighted many areas of concern.
The national ‘State of Care’ report has concluded that more than half of hospitals inspected require improvement – with 13 per cent considered ‘inadequate’ in terms of patient safety.
In all, the CQC found three-quarters of the 79 hospital trusts it inspected to have safety problems. More than 40 per cent of care and nursing homes and home care services and one in three GP services were also highlighted as having problems with safety.
As specialists in handling cases of medical negligence, much of our work at Hudgell Solicitors centres around investigating health providers who have failed simply in their duty of care. Avoidable errors are made, and these can have devastating, life-changing consequences for the patients involved.
These recent inspections, which were part of a new “tougher” regime headed by chief inspector of hospitals Professor Sir Mike Richards, considered how well health and care providers are protecting patients from abuse and harm.
Figures showing that more than one in every 10 hospitals failed to meet the expected safety standards, and that 937 warning notices were handed out to care home demanding urgent improvements, highlight that vast improvements need to be made.
This report was compiled by considering five factors. Inspectors looked for safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led establishments.
Staffing levels have of course been highlighted as a reason for standards dipping, but it is interesting to note that the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has said it is cuts made to senior nursing roles which is having the biggest impact, having a negative effect on training and leadership skills.
Indeed, the RCN says there are 5,000 more nurses now registered than there was in 2014, and 7,000 more than in 2010, so to simply say there is not enough staff on wards appears to be something of a red herring.
Leadership and direction is clearly lacking, however.
Throughout the findings in this report, there is a clear link between quality of leadership and quality of services. All inadequate services had inadequate leadership (84 per cent) and 94 per cent of services rated good or outstanding had good or outstanding for leadership.
This suggests the failings are not on the wards or in theatres, where we find thousands of dedicated, talented and caring medical professionals and staff across the country, but in the leadership and direction from the top.
There is a clear need to tighten and improve policies, procedures and standards across the UK, as only by doing so will we see consistently high-quality services delivered.
It is for that reason that we believe we continue to play a crucial role in our work at Hudgell Solicitors in holding health trusts to account over poor care.
We represent the patients, and as today’s report has highlighted, there is still much work to be done to provide us all with standard of care we deserve.