CQC finds a tale of two areas in joined up care

Professor Steve FieldProfessor Steve Field

The fragmented nature of joined up health and social care has been highlighted in two reports published by the CQC.

Reports on how well health and social care services work together have found a wide divergence in the quality of joined up care in Sutton and Cornwall.

The CQC praised health and social care organisations in the London Borough of Sutton for their work in improving care for people as they move between hospitals and social care.

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Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of Primary Care Services, said: “The London Borough of Sutton has shown just what can be achieved when everybody in the system works together to support joined up care.”

The report concludes that there was a clear strategic approach to collaborative working in Sutton, with clear leadership and a shared desire to improve care for people living in care homes.

It notes a drop in the number of older people needing to go to hospital in an emergency as well as in avoidable healthcare conditions among people in care homes.

It praises Sutton Clinical Commissioning Group and its partners for introducing the Hospital Transfer Pathway initiative known as the Red Bag – which helps people living in care homes receive quick and effective treatment if they need to go into hospital in an emergency.

The Red Bag contains standardised information about a resident’s general health and any existing medical conditions or medication, easily accessible to ambulance and hospital staff. It accompanies people as they go into hospital – and when they come out again (see Red bag pathway speeds up transfers between hospitals and care homes).

In stark contrast, the CQC said the experience of people needing to leave hospital and requiring ongoing in Cornwall care was “poor”.

Professor Field said: “Partnership working may be better than it has been in the past – but we have found there is little confidence that improvements will be made. There has been a lack of oversight and ownership to carry through change and understand what this is like for the patients.”

The report concludes: “All the relevant agencies have been working to improve the systems and processes to support inter-agency working. But the current systems lack a cohesive approach and remain fragmented, lacking in ownership and having lost sight of the needs of people using services.”

The reviews were part of the CQC’s business strategy for 2016 to 2021, Shaping the future: Our ambition for the next five years, which sets out how it will do more to assess the quality of care for population groups and how well care is coordinated across organisations through its inspections of services and thematic work.

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