News

NHS on 'burning platform' over patient safety, says CQC

The NHS 'stands on a burning platform' with four out of five trusts needing to improve on patient safety, England's top hospital inspector has warned.
Mike Richards

The NHS 'stands on a burning platform' with four out of five trusts needing to improve on patient safety, England's top hospital inspector has warned.

Following the first round of new inspections of the nation's hospitals, Sir Mike Richards, the Care Quality Commission's (CQC) chief inspector of hospitals, said safety remains a 'real concern'.

He said there is a wide variation in quality between hospitals and between services within the same hospital, following the first round of comprehensive inspections of England's 136 acute non-specialist trusts and all 18 specialist trusts.

At risk

But the CQC's State of Care in NHS Acute Hospitals report , which

The NHS 'stands on a burning platform' with four out of five trusts needing to improve on patient safety, England's top hospital inspector has warned.


 The Care Quality Commission’s chief inspector of hospitals Sir Mike Richards voiced concerns about the variation in quality between services within the same hospital. Photo: Tim George

Following the first round of new inspections of the nation's hospitals, Sir Mike Richards, the Care Quality Commission's (CQC) chief inspector of hospitals, said safety remains a 'real concern'.

He said there is a wide variation in quality between hospitals and between services within the same hospital, following the first round of comprehensive inspections of England's 136 acute non-specialist trusts and all 18 specialist trusts.

At risk

But the CQC's State of Care in NHS Acute Hospitals report, which brings together all inspections, also applauds staff for their caring attitudes. It shows no hospital trust has been given given the lowest rating – inadequate – for providing a caring atmosphere.

Sir Mike said rising demand for care and economic pressures are creating difficult-to-manage situations that are putting patient care at risk.

The report says: 'The safety of hospitals remains our biggest concern, with four out of five trusts needing to improve.'

Sir Mike criticised a failure to learn when things go wrong.

Overall, 81% of the 136 non-specialist trusts were deemed to be inadequate or to require improvement for safety.

Lowest rating

Some 11% of hospital trusts were given the lowest rating for safety. None received a rating of outstanding in this area.

More than half of specialist trusts (53%) were rated as requiring improvement in terms of safety.

The authors of the report wrote: 'We are also concerned that some may be over-reliant on their reputation and not assuring themselves of the quality of care they are delivering.'

Across 199 urgent and emergency services inspected, 7% were deemed to be inadequate.

Requires improvement

Urgent and emergency services and medical care had more ratings of inadequate and requires improvement than good or outstanding, the report said.

And ambulances queuing outside A&E 'has been normalised and is routine'.

The regulator introduced a new inspection programme in 2013 following the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust scandal, when hundreds more patients died than would be expected because of poor care.

It has inspected all NHS acute and specialist hospital trusts under the new regime, and praised the compassion of staff,

Front-line heroes

'Front-line staff are the heroes of our reports,' the authors wrote. 

'We have found high levels of compassionate care in virtually every hospital.'

Sir Mike said: 'We have witnessed some fantastic care and examples of innovative practice, but we have also found a wide variation in quality both between hospitals and between services within the same hospital.

'Safety remains a real concern, often due to a failure to learn when things go wrong.'

He added: 'The NHS now stands on a burning platform - the need for change is clear, but finding the resources and energy to deliver that change while simultaneously providing safe patient care can seem almost impossible.'

An NHS England spokesman said: 'The CQC are right to praise dedicated NHS staff for delivering great care under pressure, and they are also right to argue for the more profound changes now being planned in how acute hospital care is delivered across England.'


In other news

 

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs