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Press release

The King's Fund responds to the Care Quality Commission’s annual State of care report

Commenting on the Care Quality Commission’s annual State of care report, Sally Warren, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund said:

‘Today’s report paints a bleak picture of unsustainable pressure right across the health and care system, making it increasingly difficult for people to access care when and where they need it and potentially putting patients at risk.

‘This assessment from the Care Quality Commission, and some of the worst NHS performance stats in recent history, clearly shows the precarious state of health and care services, which comes at a time when the Chancellor is looking to squeeze funding. This is a consequence of much more than Covid-19, it comes on the back of years of underinvestment in the workforce, repeated raids on capital budgets to cover day-to-day costs, and social care services pushed to breaking point by drastically tightened local authority funding.

‘The government needs to approach any imminent tightening of budgets with their eyes open to the consequences for the people who rely on and rightly expect good quality and timely treatment and care.

‘The report also provides further evidence that the staffing crisis, which has been many years in the making, is the make-or-break issue across the NHS and social care. Staff are working under enormous strain as services struggle to recruit, train and retain enough staff with the necessary skills.

‘The time for sticking plasters and quick fixes has passed. To break through this gridlock and ensure people can access services when they need them, a comprehensive, long-term workforce strategy is required, along with taking a whole-system view of funding for health and care.

‘In the absence of the long-term planning and investment this report says is necessary to stabilise services, local health and care leaders working through newly formed integrated care systems can and should be sharing resources and information across their organisations to support staff and deliver for patients.’

Notes to editors

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The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.