Overall quality of care is improving despite growing pressures on services

15 October 2019

Responding to the State of Care report published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said:

“We are seeing a relentless rise in demand for care in hospitals, mental health, community and ambulance services. This report provides yet more evidence of how trusts and their staff have managed – in many areas - to keep up and even improve the quality of care for patients, despite growing pressures.

“But it also points to services where increasing demand, along with workforce shortages and inadequate facilities mean performance is slipping and care is falling short.

“This is reflected in the difficulties we see in A & E where attendances have risen by 7% in the past year.

“But CQC is right to emphasise the challenges in mental health, where shortages of appropriately skilled staff are particularly severe.

“It is telling that in a survey we published earlier this year nearly nine out of ten (88%) mental health trust leaders said pressures in the wider system had a knock on effect and increased demand for mental health services. In the same survey, less than one in ten (9%) of trusts said they currently had the right staff in the right place.

“We urgently need investment to grow and develop our mental health workforce.

“We know that mental health service users are being placed at increasing levels of risk from ageing and often unsafe buildings and more needs to be said on the need for capital funding to provide the most suitable environments for people in these settings.

“That is why, earlier this month, we described the failure to include any mental health services in the recent government announcement on capital funding as a damaging and regrettable oversight.

“What we need to see is a multiyear settlement on capital that brings spending into line with other comparable economies, together with a better way of ensuring the money gets to where it’s needed most.

“We share CQC’s concerns about the fragility of social care and the wider impact this has on the NHS, and the need for more prevention services and greater support for people at an earlier stage.

“We are worried that as we approach winter the growing pressures on trusts and their staff will test resilience up to and possibly beyond breaking point, putting at even greater risk the care of patients and service users who deserve better."

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