Fresh concerns over NHS patient care
Published on 14 February 2013 11:30 AM
There are growing fears in the NHS that the quality of care received by some patients is on the decline, according to new research from a health thinktank.
A King's Fund survey found that one in three finance directors of NHS organisations in England believes quality of care has fallen in the last year.
A total of 48 directors were asked what had happened to the quality of patient care in their area during that period of time.
Of those questioned, 16 said it had got worse - a significant increase from 7 of 45 in the previous quarterly assessment last September. Meanwhile, 26 said it had stayed the same and 6 said it had improved.
A week of bad news for health and social care
The findings come a week after Robert Francis QC's damning report into the Mid-Staffordshire hospital care scandal, prompting fresh concerns about the care that patients experience in hospitals across the country.
A high turnover of senior staff and the coalition's NHS shake-up were blamed by finance directors for the apparent drop in care quality.
It also appears that social care is worsening, with 27 of the 58 local council directors of adult social care polled claiming it had declined in the last year.
In addition, 21 of them expected to cut services this year due to the spending squeeze and 12 said they would have to increase charges.
'Very grim reading'
Michelle Mitchell, charity director of Age UK, described the findings about social care as 'very grim reading'.
She said that almost 830,000 older people who need care receive no formal support 'meaning many of the most vulnerable in our society are having their dignity and safety compromised on a daily basis'.
Inadequate social care provision not only leaves older people more vulnerable and isolated but also costs the NHS money through avoidable hospital admissions, she added.
The NHS Confederation endorsed the thinktank's warnings about declining levels of care for patients.
Mike Farrar, its chief executive, claimed that unless it urgently transformed how and where it cares for patients, the NHS would not be able to maintain quality of care in the face of rising demand and growing financial pressures.
Copyright Press Association 2013