Report on the state of health and care in England

A ‘perfect storm’ could be brewing for people using mental health, learning disability and autism services, warns the Care Quality Commission.
cover of report

Growing pressures on staffing and access to services are having a negative impact on the quality of care given to people says the independent regulator’s 2018/19 State of Care report published last week.

The report – published annually – assesses health care and social care in England.

And its call for urgent action, particularly on staffing,has been backed by Healthwatch England.

While most care in England is good quality and improving slightly, the CQC says care given to people with a learning disability or autism is unacceptable.

The report says there has been a real deterioration in some specialist inpatient services for those with learning disabilities, autism and mental ill health.

Increased demand, combined with challenges around the workforce and access risk creating the perfect storm. This means people who need support may receive poor care, have to wait until they are at crisis point to get help, be detained in unsuitable services far from home or be unable to access care at all.
— Ian Trenholm CQC’s Chief Executive

Problems in getting other care too

The report also shows:

  • more people are waiting longer for treatment in hospitals
  • people are needing more treatment for illnesses like cancer
  • the quality of accident and emergency (A&E)services has got worse
  • more people are spending over four hours in A & E

Adult social care also remains a big concern, with an estimated 1.4 million older people (nearly one in seven) without access to all the care and support they need.

What needs to be done

The CQC says care services and organisations must work more closely together so that the right services are commissioned and meet people's needs in their local area.

Government, care commissioners and providers all need to urgently focus on delivering care in new ways.

Healthwatch backs call for action

The CQC’s call for urgent action, particularly on staffing, has been backed by Healthwatch England.

National Director Imelda Redmond said the quality of mental health and learning disability services is one of the key things people continue to raise with Healthwatch.

She added that feedback provided was overwhelmingly negative when compared to other parts of the NHS and social care.

“Unfortunately, the CQC’s findings come as no surprise to us and confirm that this is a nation-wide problem,” she said.  “We agree that urgent action is required, particularly on staffing levels, to ensure that people can get the help they need.

“We are pleased to see organisations such as CQC, recognising the value of listening to people’s experience of care. By using the ‘Share Your Experience’ comments alongside inspection reports and case studies, CQC has been able to gain a much clearer picture of what is happening in services and importantly what needs to be improved.”

Read more about the report

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