“Handle with Care” will be best known to fans of the Traveling Wilburys as the first track on the group’s 1988 album, “Traveling Wilburys Vol.1”. It is also the key message of thefifth annual “State of Care” report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) issued on 17 October 2014.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/364440/CQC_StateOfSocial_2014.pdf

The report which looks at 40,000 services and provides a useful, if rather worrying, insight into the state of care in England concludes that the variation in the overall quality of care is unacceptably wide.

The report covers adult social care, hospitals, mental health care and community health services and primary medical services and integrated care.

The CQC found some instances of “outstanding” care and it also rated many other services as “good”. However, it also found many services that are “inadequate” or “require improvement”.

As a result of the latter, people are being failed by the “numerous” hospitals, care homes and GP practices which are unable to meet the standards achieved by other services.

The CQC found many instances where the particular problem has existed for years. However, the CQC makes clear this is not an excuse. In fact it is “quite the opposite”.

More worryingly, the CQC concludes that too many service providers have still not got to grips with the “basics of safety”.

The CQC is now “calling time on this unacceptable lottery”.

The challenge to every health and care provider is to deliver the “high standards of care that each person has a right to expect”.

Or, as Roy Orbison and Bob Dylan sang in the bridge to the 1988 track,

“Won't you show me that you really care?”