Clinical Negligence & Catastrophic Injury Solicitors
Safety a big concern in NHS and care sector, CQC inspections confirm
Safety standards across the NHS and care sectors are a "significant concern" with particular problems in hospitals, health watchdog inspectors are warning.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) found that three-quarters of the 79 hospital trusts visited under its new inspection regime so far had safety problems. More than 40 per cent of care and nursing homes and home care services and one in three GP services also had safety issues.
Staff shortages - in terms of skills and numbers - was identified as a major issue. How medicines were managed and how mistakes were investigated and learnt from was also highlighted.
Among 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 and medication mistakes at a care home, including delays giving drugs and signs of overdoses
The findings - contained in the CQC's annual report - present a mid-term update of the new tougher Ofsted-style inspection regime covering the first 14 months of the programme launched in April 2014 which is expected to be completed by April 2016.
So far more than 5,000 organisations have been inspected - nearly half of hospitals, 17 per cent of care services and 11 per cent of GP surgeries and out-of-hours providers.
However, those deemed most at risk have been targeted first, so the ratios of shortcomings to not necessarily represent the overall sector.
During inspections, CQC experts look at a range of different issues, including the quality of management, whether staff are caring and safety. Each organisation - from GP surgery to hospital - gets a rating for each, resulting in an overall rating of inadequate, requires improvement, good or outstanding.
Of all the issues looked at, the CQC said most concerns had been raised about safety.
A total of 13 per cent of hospitals were judged unsafe, 10 per cent of social care services and six per cent of GP services.
Once those judged to not to be safe enough are included, the total with safety problems rises to to 74 per cent for hospitals, 43 per cent for social care services and 31 per cent for GPs.