As the recently-published Care Quality Commission (CQC) annual State of Care report addressed, there have been significant challenges facing the health service this year and, although that has in places stifled much forward progress, the lack of negative progress equally shows the hard work being carried out by NHS staff across the country.
However, it also once again highlighted a number of key areas which need further improvement if we are, as a society, going to overcome some of the core health challenges facing one.
In particular, one of these aspects which has been seen to underpin many of the current health challenges and is expected to have been exacerbated by Covid-19: health inequalities.
NHS Providers Deputy Chief Executive, Saffron Cordery, highlighted the vital work ahead in tackling health equalities as she responded to the CQC report.
“The State of Care report provides a valuable, objective assessment of the way health and care services have performed in what has been the most challenging year in the history of the NHS.
“The report highlights the way that trusts and frontline staff have adapted and innovated successfully in response to the pandemic.
“CQC rightly concludes that progress in transforming the delivery of services has been extraordinary.
“We agree with CQC about the importance of ensuring that non Covid-19 patients are not left behind as we enter a second wave of the pandemic.
“Trusts are working flat out to maintain and restore services, while keeping people safe and preventing the spread of Covid-19 within hospitals.
“It will be important as they do that to keep in mind the unequal impact of the pandemic, and to develop their work to tackle health inequalities.
“The emphasis in the report on effective provider collaboration in developing system wide responses contains valuable lessons for the year ahead, and we welcome the call for local leaders to be empowered to respond to the needs of their population as the impact of Covid-19 on different parts of the community becomes apparent
“We agree that the pandemic exposed the longstanding neglect of social care, which in turn impacted on the NHS. It is vital for the whole health and care system that social care is put on a sustainable and secure footing.”