In its latest report, the CQC stated that staff levels are dangerously low and the quality and safety of care in England is too inconsistent.
Inspectors visited 82 hospitals between December 2013 and August 2014 and found that standards of care were poor overall with 79% of those visited requiring safety improvements in at least one of the eight assessed types of care, such as A&E and maternity.
Although the report indicated that the majority of staff were dedicated to delivering excellent levels of care despite units being understaffed, the CQC had a number of concerns.
The CQC feared that staffing levels were too varied between hospitals and patient safety was being put at risk because there were not enough experienced and qualified staff. Indeed, some hospitals were rated as outstanding but other hospitals run by the same trust fell well below expected standards.
Worryingly, inadequate staffing levels at certain hospitals resulted in more elderly patients falling, patients being made to wait in hospital corridors until a bed was available, children being treated on adult wards and patients facing lengthy waits for treatment.
At Fletchers we can see that staff shortages are presenting a catalogue of serious issues for the NHS. In addition to this, the increasing pressures on funding are also greatly impeding the quality of care that the health service is able to deliver to its patients.
As the demand for healthcare grows, it appears that some hospitals can’t cope and are now putting patients at serious risk – this cannot continue. It is incredibly worrying to see poor standards of care when millions of people rely on the NHS every day.
Extra staff must be recruited to ensure workloads for existing doctors and nurses become more manageable. This will help to ensure that the NHS delivers what we all want – a service that provides safe and effective healthcare for everyone.