The health and social care systems in England are at “full stretch”, “straining at the seams” and face a “precarious” future. That is according to a report from the independent regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
In the CQC’s latest state of health care and adult social care annual report for England, the regulator reviewed the outcomes from its new inspection regimes of hospitals, mental health units and care services.
The report raises concerns about the number of patients with preventable illnesses, the rising demand for services, the rising number of individuals with unmet care needs and bed and staffing shortages. It also says that the level of care provided by the NHS and local authority care providers has been maintained, but warned that these standards are likely to drop, leading to the safety concerns.
One striking issue is the fact that care professionals are working with a combination of greater demand for the services they deliver and less staff capacity to do so. The CQC say there is, however, “a limit to their resilience.”
CQC Chief Executive, Sir David Behan, said that the NHS is “struggling to cope with 21st century problems”. He also said that “we are living longer but are not living healthier”.
One of the concluding remarks of the report states that better care can often be seen where providers are working together to provide a more seamless service, one that is built around the often multiple or complex needs of the individual. They found this to be true where there is joined-up care with local health and care leaders collaborating to engage staff, people who use the services and local partners to respond to the challenges they face.