According to the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) annual care report, an inspection of 82 hospitals across the UK has revealed “too much variation in care” and “shocking” performance results.

Following the Stafford Hospital scandal, the inspection system was redesigned to be more stringent and to give hospitals, care homes and GP surgeries ‘league table’ ratings. The first set of inspections targeted sites deemed to be at risk. Four out of five were told that their safety standards were not good enough. The report showed a variation in basic safety measures and highlighted that so-called “never events” were still occurring daily across the NHS.

Not only are standards poor but mistakes are continuously being made. Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary, has branded these mistakes as “expensive and wasteful”. It has been reported that mistakes are made in relation to medicine, bed ulcers and avoidable infections, which could ultimately cost the NHS in England over £1bn a year.

Furthermore, the report exposed “widespread evidence” of staff shortages affecting patients, with call bells left unanswered for long periods and the elderly put at risk of falling because staff did not come to their assistance. Additionally, some of the largest risks were found in the A&E departments, with shortages of consultants and nurses and patients left unattended for long periods of time.

Only one in three hospitals managed to secure a “good” rating with the remainder branded “inadequate” or “requiring improvement”.