The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published its annual State of Care assessment of health and social care in England, finding that the care people received in 2019/20 was mostly of good quality.
The CQC found that while the quality of care was mostly maintained compared with the previous year, there was no overall improvement.
In particular, the assessment found that there is inequality between certain parts of the country, where people may find it hard to access good care. In particular, the CQC found that there were significant gaps in access to good quality mental health care.
While care was quickly adapted amid unprecedented change during the COVID-19 crisis, CQC emphasised that the issues existing in health and social care prior to the pandemic have not gone away.
The assessment found that COVID-19 exacerbated health and social inequalities and called for services to be designed around specific needs. In addition, the assessment found that there are increased waiting lists and a backlog of urgent and elective care that need to be addressed.
In response to the assessment, Danny Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Confederation commented: “CQC’s assessment must serve as a wake-up call to the Government to appropriately fund and resource the NHS and social care so that they can be equipped to deal with the aftermath from this pandemic, which will be felt for many years to come.”
“It is positive that the overall quality in mental health services has been maintained, but as demand is only likely to continue growing and with no additional resources on the horizon, there is a real danger that this will slip,” added Sean Duggan, chief executive of the Mental Health Network
“Our members are doing all they can, but without additional support, there will be severe limitations,” he added.