The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published its first ever report to Parliament on the state of health care and adult social care in England, The State of Care.

The report states that there has been an overall improvement in health and social care with 63 per cent of NHS trusts, 77 per cent of adult social care providers and 95 per cent of councils having been rated “good” or “excellent”. It is also reported that rates of MRSA and C-difficile have reduced by 34 per cent and 35 per cent respectively and the number of serious incidents reported to the National Patient Safety Agency has reduced.

However, the report highlights that not everything is rosy: some organisations are lagging behind in relation to safety, safeguarding and workforce training.

The report also argues that “joined up” health and social care could deliver both better care and greater efficiency, for example:

  • better intermediate care in the community for patients over 75 years could reduce emergency admissions to hospital and result in a saving of about £2billion a year for NHS hospitals;  
  • better communication between professionals: GPs and hospitals need to send the right information to each other on time and care homes and hospitals need to routinely providing high-quality information on infections to each other in a co-ordinated way;  
  • councils and primary care trusts should adopt mechanisms for working in partnership such as local area agreements, local strategic partnerships and joint strategic needs assessments.  

The CQC has said that it will play a part in driving improvements to make care joined up, but providers should also use the findings in their report to drive change.

A more joined up approach with health and social care is a recurring theme and one that is also reflected in the NHS White Paper. With closer links between the NHS and local authorities anticipated, on the basis of this report these are changes that the CQC will no doubt embrace.