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CQC: Staffordshire STP has varied and ‘inconsistent’ system despite improvements

The CQC has published its findings of its review into the health and social are services of Staffordshire – just one report of 23 targeted local system reviews.

CQC’s findings in Staffordshire echo that of its annual ‘State of Care’ report, as it found that people in the region had “varied experiences” of health and social care services.

Just last week, CCGs in the area published plans for a new model of care, which will see beds scrapped and local services delivered through integrated teams and four integrated care hubs.

The health inspectorate also found instances of people attending A&E because they couldn’t get a GP appointment, with A&E attendances for over-65s higher than the national average; that there was a limited choice of care homes rated as ‘good’; and that, despite recent improvements, people were likely to be delayed in being discharged from hospital, with examples of patients who suffered avoidable harm because of this.

However, the CQC also found that A&E services and experiences were much improved at Stoke Royal Hospital, that person-centred care for patients with dementia was very well received, and that senior leaders at the Staffordshire and Stoke STP had good relationships with the county council.

The report therefore recommended that, despite clear vision and strong leadership at a senior level, a whole-county joint commissioning strategy should be developed to provide consistency of provision across the region. The CQC also said that there must be equal access to services; that a new approach is needed to better manage patient discharge; and that learning from serious incidents should be shared system-wide.

Professor Steve Field, CQC chief inspector of private medical services and integrated care, explained that whilst there was a strong, shared vision at senior leadership level, “this did not transfer to those at an operational level.”

“This was due to a number of significant recent changes within the system, which meant more time was needed to ensure people received high quality services wherever they went in Staffordshire,” Field added.

“Our review found many examples of good practice but also highlighted a number of areas where improvements are needed to ensure those responsible for providing health and social care services work better together. Some of these areas had already been recognised by the system’s leaders and plans were already being developed, or were in place, to ensure those improvements took place.”

Health leaders across Staffordshire welcomed the report, with Simon Whitehouse, director of Together We’re Better, saying he was pleased the report recognised the strong commitment from all of the STP’s partners. 

“That being said,” he added, “I completely accept that more needs to be done and as we prepare to embark on a busy 2019 of public engagement, we must redouble our efforts to build on the solid foundations put in place.”


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