The entire health and social care system is ‘gridlocked’ and ‘unable to operate effectively’ according to the CQC – the Government’s own healthcare regulator.
At the core of the ‘gridlock’ is lack of long term investment in out NHS and a calamitous and growing shortage of staff. There are now 132,000 vacancies in the NHS and a shortfall of 165,000 care staff. Fifty thousand care staff left the service last year and this will get worse because of low pay and the cost of living crisis where care staff are leaving for better paid work.
Because of this staff shortfall people who are medically fit for discharge are stuck in hospital beds as there are no social care workers to look after their needs in the community.
The effects of this situation on those stuck in hospitals, those waiting urgently for beds and those in the ever-growing backlog are grim. According to Amanda Pritchard, CEO of NHS England, 10,000 people at any one time occupy hospital beds because there is nowhere for them to go.
Sky News (21 October 2022) presents a clear, readable summary of the CQC Report. It only takes 5 minutes to read and is well worth your time.
A workforce the size of the population of Newcastle needs to be recruited urgently to ease the “gridlocked” health and care system and to prevent serious harm to patients, the country’s care regulator has warned.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) says it is getting “tougher and tougher” to access care because of a massive shortage in the workforce.
There are around 132,000 vacancies in the NHS and 165,000 across social care, about the same size as the population of the north east city.
And this shortfall in the care sector is having a huge impact on NHS waiting lists, hospital bed availability and accident and emergency response times.
The CQC described the entire health and care system as “gridlocked” and “unable to operate effectively”.
The CQC echoes the warnings raised by health leaders about the need to address the crisis in social care to ease the pressure on the rest of the health system.
Chief Executive Ian Trenholm said the recruitment challenge faced by health and care leaders “is going to translate into real difficulty” this winter and in the years ahead.
Mr Trenholm said the impact of the gridlock is that people are struggling to see their GP or dentist, wait for longer to get to hospital, and once there can become stuck due to a lack of social care to help them once they are ready to leave.
He said: “And this is not just a care consequence. There’s an economic consequence to all of this as well.
“People who are ill can’t go back to work because they’re in a backlog, in some kind of queue waiting for care.”
Amanda Pritchard, NHS England chief executive, said there are around 10,000 patients in hospitals who are medically fit to be discharged but must stay because there is no care provision for them in the community.
The CQC said only two in five people are able to leave hospital when they are ready, contributing to record-breaking waits in emergency departments following a decision to admit, and dangerous ambulance handover delays.
It found in some cases almost half a hospital is full of people who are medically fit to be discharged but are waiting for social care support, it said.
Beds are available but some care homes are closing their doors to new arrivals because they cannot provide safe staffing levels.
And some nursing homes are having to re-register as care homes because nursing staff are leaving and they are struggling to recruit replacements.
You can read the full report here: www.cqc.org.uk/publication/state-care-202122