CQC Reveal "Shocking" Hospital Safety After Inspections

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A total of 82 new hospitals were inspected under the Care Quality Commission's (CQC) new tougher inspection regime.

Hospital safety has become shockingly poor

The inspectors have called the safety standards in English hospitals "shocking", as they are continuing to put patients at risk unnecessarily. There is a wide variation in quality across healthcare services, "too much" according to the CQC chief executive David Behan, which needs to be addressed.

Most at Risk Inspected First

The Stafford Hospital in which terrible standards were overlooked for a number of years, was one of the catalysts for the CQC making a change to their regime. The trust responsible for the hospital has committed itself to changing its name to County Hospital after making significant improvements. The reputation of a hospital is an essential component to patient trust, and that reputation can be ruined by constant bad standards.

Sites deemed most at risk were the first to be inspected. 4 out of 5 were not good enough when it came to their safety standards, 57 were deemed to require improvement, and 8 out of 82 hospitals inspected were given an 'inadequate' rating.

The findings were published in the CQC's annual 'State of Care' report, in which variation in the system had been put down to a lack of safety and leadership at all levels in the system. Providers were failing to get the basics of care right, leaving patients to deal with the harmful consequences.

So called "never events" were still occurring in hospitals at a rate of once a day across the NHS, this is more than is expected by anybody's standards.

Investment in Nurses Needed

At the moment, the entire world is having to deal with the consequences of a lack of basic safety and care in the current Ebola crisis. Thousands are dead because safety protocols may not have been followed at the inception of the breakout, letting the disease spread over borders, from continent to continent.

The State of Care report was published on the same day that Jeremy Hunt lambasted hospitals for their "expensive and wasteful" mistakes, costing the economy over £2.5bn a year. He claimed he wanted to work together with every nurse in the country to make the NHS, "the safest healthcare organisation in the world". He went on to say he wanted to invest more money in preventative measures rather than "picking up the pieces" after things have gone wrong.

"We welcome the appetite to address the failings in patient care and invest more in improving patient safety," said a Specialist Clinical Negligence Solicitor at Simpson Millar LLP. Like Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, we agree that an investment in more front-line staff is necessary but he further considers, "that the NHS has the most comprehensive record of the lessons that can be learned by their failings to stop them happening again.

Patient safety and finances go hand in hand and implementing and disseminating the learning from those lessons needs to be a priority from the boardroom to the wards.

Prevention is always better and cheaper than a cure."


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