Health and care system ‘at full stretch’, warns CQC report

Health and care system ‘at full stretch’, warns CQC report

October 11, 2017

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has this week warned that the future quality of health and social care is ‘precarious’, with all parts of the system now ‘at full stretch’.

The State of Care report, CQC’s annual assessment of health and care services in England, highlights the challenges facing health and care services as the number of people living with complex, chronic or multiple conditions increases.

“All health and care staff, and the services they work for, are under huge pressure,” the report stated, going on to warn that staff resilience is ‘not inexhaustible’.

Referring to the results of the 2016 GP patient survey, which found that when a patient’s GP practice was closed, one-third went to A&E whilst less than one in 10 saw a pharmacist, the report highlighted the potential for greater use of community pharmacy.

The CQC called for a response from the health and care system based on personalisation of care, achieved through better coordination. “To deliver good, safe, sustainable care, more providers need to think beyond traditional boundaries to reflect the experience of the people they support,” it said.

Key challenges in 2016/17 highlighted by the report included:

  • Hospitals have seen substantial rises in A&E attendances in the last five years;
  • 5m people spent longer than four hours in A&E in 2016/17 – up from 1.8m last year;
  • Acute hospital bed occupancy reached its highest rate ever between January and March 2017, at 91.4%;
  • 2 million older people are not receiving the care they need, an increase of 18% on last year; and
  • Rising demand for GP services is not being matched by a growth in the workforce to meet needs, which means that people may find it harder to access an appointment with a GP.

PSNC Chief Executive Sue Sharpe commented:

“This CQC report gives yet another stark warning about the unsustainability of health and care services in their current form. The struggle to find a financially viable solution to the ever increasing demands for care is not going away.

The CQC are right to highlight the potential for greater use of community pharmacy; the NHS must make better use of community pharmacies to support both patients and other healthcare services. Community pharmacy teams are ready and willing to deliver the preventative services and long-term condition management support that are essential to the survival of the NHS; and we can provide them in easily accessible locations and at good value.”



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