Mary Clarke, CEO, Cognisco, a company that specialises in the mitigation of people risks in organisations, responds to the report from The Care Quality Commission (CQC) which highlights “significant safety concerns,” across the NHS and care sectors.
Mary Clarke, CEO, Cognisco says, “Three quarters of the 79 hospital trusts inspected by the CQC under its tougher new regime have been found to have safety problems – a figure which is alarming. 13% hospitals were deemed ‘inadequate’ in terms of safety, 61% ‘require improvement’.
In those hospitals rated ‘inadequate’ inspectors found examples of “disregard of patient safety”, with staff not being trained properly, poor record keeping and incomplete safety checks and medicines not being kept properly.
Examples of poor management of patients at risk of health complications were also found and examples of “disregard” for infection control.
40% of care and nursing homes and one in three GP services were also found to have problems with safety. Staff shortages particularly in the care sector were considered a contributory factor.
Whilst staff shortages can impact service levels, there is no excuse for staff not being trained in the basics or for disregarding critical processes such as updating patient records or completing safety checks – without these systems, the safety of patients is compromised and they will be at risk.
Interestingly, 38% of hospitals and trusts, including mental health, were rated good or outstanding which shows that it is possible to deliver the highest standards of care.
Clearly, this situation needs addressing urgently. A drive for more consistent standards of care from health chiefs is needed and best practice from hospitals and trusts that are performing outstandingly must be shared.
In some cases, a back to basics approach is needed to prioritise staff training and development and reinforce simple processes such as safety checks, completing records correctly.
The competence and confidence of all staff must also be assessed regularly to ensure there are consistent standards of care delivered to patients and that staff are applying their knowledge in the right way on the job.
Whilst this report makes depressing reading for some, it is an opportunity to address the issues that have been uncovered and drive up standards of care and safety.”