The report looks at the quality of care in our health and social care over the past year, including the period before COVID-19.  It draws the following conclusions:

Before the pandemic

  • Quality overall maintained, but not improved
  • Care that is harder to plan for was of poorer quality
  • Care services needed to do more to join up
  • Adult social care remained very fragile
  • Some of the poorest quality services were struggling to make any improvement
  • There were significant gaps in access to good quality care
  • Inequalities in care persisted

The report also looks at the impact of the pandemic in terms of

  • Staff across the sector showing resilience under unprecedented pressures and adapting to keep people safe
  • The challenge in maintaining a safe environment
  • The acceleration of digitisation
  • The impact on elective and urgent services such as cancer and cardiac services
  • The disproportionate effect on some groups of people

The report also majors on the importance of collaboration between providers and system approaches as well as looking at the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Many in the sector will take much comfort in CQC’s recommendations but in equal measure many will no doubt feel a sense of frustration at CQC failing to play a more central role in what changes are needed. The sector has been heavily critical of CQC’s role during the pandemic and its failure to use its powers to better shape the response and support for social care.  It won’t therefore go unnoticed that the report does not address in any way CQC’s own handling of the Pandemic.  It is an interesting question as to how this sits with CQC’s emphasis on the need for transparency and learning lessons when carrying out inspections of care providers.  

A copy of the report can be found here

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