New chief inspector has warned hospitals that NHS model is outdated and ‘not fit for the 21st century’.
Professor Ted Baker stressed the need for urgent radical reform as some hospitals continue to run at occupancy rates of over 95% during the winter season.
The newly appointed chief inspectors of hospitals said: ‘the model of care we have got is still the model we had in the 1960s and 70s’
‘that is the fundamental thing that needs to change; we need a model of care that is fit for the 21st century and the population as it is now’
The UK population has undergone some significant changes over the past few decades, with a 16% rise in the population and a third more pensioners over the past 30 years.
Prof Baker, who took over the role from Sir Mike Richards last month after being his deputy since 2014, now oversees the hospital division of the Care Quality Commission (CQC). He used an interview in the Daily Telegraph to criticise some accident and emergency departments and has written to every hospital chief executive calling for rapid action to tackle such issues.
A report from the CQC next month is expected to identify increasing pressures on hospitals and other services due to funding cuts and a historic lack of investment as a reason for the ‘wholly unsatisfactory arrangements’ in some hospitals.
Prof Baker said: ‘Capacity is being squeezed all the time. That is a real concern going forward – because there comes a point at which the capacity isn’t there’.
Hospitals face a challenging winter as fears mount over a sever winter flu, which could make things even worse as many are in danger of running out of beds and staffing.
In the interview Prof Baker blamed the lack of foresight shown by previous governments in addressing the long-term changes to the NHS. ‘One of the things I regret is that 15 or 20 years ago, when we could see the change in the population, the NHS did not change its model of care’, he said.
According to Baker, around half of all beds in hospitals are being taken up by people who do not need to be there and that many patients’ conditions may not have gotten worse if such pressures on staff were not as severe.