CQC warns NHS, care homes safety is a ‘big concern’


Care inspectors are warning that safety across the NHS and care sectors in England is a “significant concern.” Asian Lite reports

NHS HospitalThe Care Quality Commission found three-quarters of the 79 hospital trusts visited had safety problems. Over 40% of care and nursing homes and home care services and one in three GP services also had problems with safety.

Lack of staff – in terms of skills and numbers – was identified as a major issue.

The way medicines were managed and how mistakes were investigated and learnt from were also highlighted.

Among the individual cases flagged up were:

  • A&E patients being kept on trolleys overnight in a portable unit without proper assessment
  • Staff at a GP surgery not undergoing basic life-support training in the past 18 months
  • Medication mistakes at a care home – including delays giving drugs and signs of overdoses

The findings – contained in the CQC’s annual report – are effectively a mid-term update of the new tougher Ofsted-style inspection regime, reports BBC news.

They cover the first 14 months of the inspection programme, which was launched in April 2014 and is expected to be largely completed by April 2016.

So far more than 5,000 organisations have been inspected – nearly half of hospitals, 17% of care services and 11% of GP surgeries and out-of-hours providers.

During the inspections, CQC experts look at a range of different issues, including the quality of management, whether staff are caring and safety, BBC news adds.

Each organisation – from GP surgery to hospital – gets a rating for each, resulting in an overall rating of inadequate, requires improvement, good or outstanding.

The results of these are widely published throughout the year, whereas this report looks at some of the common problems identified during the whole process.

Of all the issues looked at, the CQC said most concerns had been raised about safety.

Some 13% of hospitals were judged unsafe, 10% of social care services and 6% of GP services.

Once those judged to be not safe enough are included, it brings the numbers with safety problems to 74% for hospitals, 43% for social care services and 31% for GPs.

The report said improving leadership was the key to tackling the problems.

David Behan, CQC chief executive, told Radio 4’s Today programme: “What we know from our report and from other research is that the leadership of an organisation sets the culture of that organisation.

“If the leadership says the important things around here are quality and safety, then that’s what people attend to.”