The quality of care provided in primary care in England is ‘particularly high’ according to the CQC’s annual State of Care report.
The report, published on 15 October, rated 85% of general practices as good or outstanding, while just 4% were inadequate. In comparison, acute services performed significantly worse, with only 38% of hospitals rated as good or outstanding and 13% classified as inadequate.
‘Good leaders are what make the difference – leaders who engage staff and people who use services and create a culture of continuous quality improvement,’ David Behan, chief executive of the CQC said. ‘What is very clear is that isolated working and incremental changes are not going to be enough to meet the challenges ahead.’
The report also raised concerns about the nursing workforce. It stated that while the total number of nurses working in the NHS has risen from 312,000 in 2010 to over 319,000 at the time of the report’s publication, the loss of senior nurses means that the NHS is losing skills and experience, which may impact patient safety and the variety of clinical skills available. ‘Effective workforce planning isn’t just a numbers game – it’s about having the right level of skills, seniority and experience to improve care,’ said Janet Davies, chief executive of the RCN. ‘Too many senior nursing posts have been cut and the effects are now being felt.’
Training and education for staff was highlighted as a key factor in a provider’s rating. The CQC identified training programmes for staff as a common feature for organisations that were rated as outstanding, while inadequate providers often had inconsistent or minimal education opportunities available for staff. Ms Davies added: ‘Whether nursing care is delivered, in hospitals, care homes, or the community, it depends on having the right number of staff with the right skills and support. There must be more investment in training nurses, keeping nurses and listening to nurses.’