The Care Quality Commission reports that one in eight NHS Trusts must urgently improve the care they provide
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Home > News > Care Quality Commission report on NHS Trusts

19th October 2009

Care Quality Commission report on NHS Trusts

“One in eight NHS trusts has been told it must urgently improve the care it provides.” That’s the headline published in October 2009 by the BBC News Channel.

Although the assessment by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) showed that more services than ever could be rated good or excellent, there are still a worrying number of Trusts that are not performing in basic areas of hygiene and safety.

The most detailed assessment on the NHS

This is the first report issued by the Commission since it took over the watchdog duties from the Healthcare Commission earlier this year. The government has stated that this is the most detailed assessment ever carried out on the NHS but that most of the findings will come as no surprise to the Trusts, who are aware of what their particular issues are. Whilst there is concern over many areas, the CQC highlighted several areas of success.

Hospital treatment and operations

Most patients in England are now receiving treatment in hospital within 18 weeks, and whilst the number of operations cancelled at short-notice for non-clinical reasons has risen to 63,000 (a rise for the second year in a row), a higher proportion are being rearranged within 28 days of the original appointment. This is despite the higher number of people receiving treatment than in previous years.

19 million patients attended Accident & Emergency departments in the period under review, and 98% of those were seen within the stipulated 4 hour target.

Hospital acquired infection rates down

Another area highlighted by the CQC as a success, is the rate of infections of hospital-acquired diseases such as Clostridium difficile and MRSA. Both rates had fallen by about a third, despite the hospitals themselves reporting failings in areas of hygiene.

Performance targets not met

Particular areas highlighted as poor performers were maternity, where the collection of data to help improve maternity services had failed to meet new performance targets, and stroke care.

CQC to acquire powers of intervention

Although the CQC will acquire powers to close down Trusts that continue to fail, they stress that this would be an extreme action of last resort. They intend to work with failing Trusts to ensure improvements are made before April 2010, when the CQC new powers come into force.

To read more about the findings of the CQC report, visit the News BBC site at

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