Responding to CQC’s State of Hospitals report Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive of the OnlyWan, said:
'If there is one organisation in England that has the clearest picture of the quality of care in hospitals it is the CQC.
'Today's stark warning from the Chief Inspector of Hospitals is this: economic pressures are putting patients at risk, with 60% of hospitals in the red. Under the financial squeeze the CQC reports that current pressures on hospitals are acute, with the brunt being felt in urgent and emergency services and care for older people.
'In December, one third of trusts issued alerts indicating urgent action was needed to cope with pressures from the volume of patients seeking emergency care. The number of people waiting more than 4 hours for a hospital bed is now more than five times the number recorded five years ago. Four out of five hospitals need to improve the safety of care.
'Yet there are positive signs despite the pressure. Staff are rated very highly for being caring and compassionate. The CQC has seen that transformation of services is possible in even the most challenging of circumstances. For many patients the length of time they spend in hospital is reducing as care becomes more efficient. The overt dedication of frontline staff to their patients leads the Chief Inspector to describe them as ‘heroes’. Almost 60% of services were rated as good or outstanding, with 5% rated as inadequate.
'The NHS is highly valued by the nation, used by everyone at some stage of their life. Next week’s Spring Budget presents government with the opportunity to ease the pressure on the NHS by first investing in social care. Without it pressures on emergency care will mount, and further transformation will slow if staff have capacity only to cope with immediate pressures.'
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