The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published its annual State of Care report. On the whole from an NHS perspective, the outlook is positive. Quality is “Good” across the majority of services, and it is improving, albeit slightly:

  • 64 % of core services within NHS acute hospitals are rated “Good” with 7% rated as Outstanding. This is a combined improvement of 6% from year 
  • Within NHS Mental Health Trusts, 71% of services are rated overall “Good” with 10% rated as “Outstanding”, which is a 3% rise from last year.
  • 74% of NHS and independent community health services are rated “Good” with 8% rated as “Outstanding”.

There are, however, some stark warnings within the report:

  • Patients being able to access the right care and support at the right time is a challenging issue for all services. Of particular concern is the ability of people to access suitable community support, highlighting in particular the unacceptable care given to people with a learning disability or autism.
  • Performance within urgent and emergency services is worsening due to the year on year rise of attendances. To put this in context, the rise of attendances peaked at 28.9% in July 2019—the highest for July in 5 years.
  • More organisational joint working is required to address the needs of the local population and to improve access and the quality of care. There are pockets of good examples but it’s more developed in some areas than others.
  • Services are challenged around recruitment and retention of staff and particularly in local community services. The CQC further found that staff had limited time to engage in quality improvement and training.

However, positively, the CQC has seen changes in approach by NHS Trust employers through a better focus on wellbeing, training and career development which helps to retain staff, empower then and to generally improve organisational culture. Further, the CQC has seen an increase in the use of apps and other digital platforms. There have also been improvements in community “early intervention” services such as talking therapies.

Read the CQC’s annual State of Care report in full here.

How can we help?

The CQC states in the report that CQC ratings can be a barrier to recruiting good staff indicating therefore that it continues to be business critical to secure “Good” or “Outstanding” CQC ratings. What has struck us over the past year is that on many occasions the draft inspection reports continue to contain many factual inaccuracies and more worryingly, where it is clearly proportionate to do so, CQC inspectors are not using their discretion properly in order to depart from the ratings principles. This results in unfair overall ratings for locations and organisations.

We have helped many NHS providers to use the factual accuracy process effectively to ensure that the resultant published report and ratings are fair, balanced and accurate. For more information, contact Ian Cooper or Siwan Griffiths. We would be happy to provide you with the names of clients who can discuss with you how we have supported them during the factual accuracy process and explain the results they have achieved through a process of constructive challenge and appreciative inquiry.