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Stoke-on-Trent: CQC publishes its review of how local health and social care systems work together

10 November 2017
  • Media

The Care Quality Commission has published its findings following a review of health and social care in Stoke-on-Trent.

This report is one of 20 targeted local system reviews looking specifically at how older people move through the health and social care system, with a focus on how services work together. The reviews look at how hospitals, community health services, GP practices, care homes and homecare agencies work together to provide seamless care for people aged 65 and over living in a local area.

CQC found that older people living in Stoke-on-Trent sometimes have poor experiences of care and do not always have access to the right care, in the right place at the right time because the health and social care system, led by Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Group, is not working in a joined up way that is meeting their needs.

CQC reviewers found that organisations and individuals designing and delivering services in Stoke-on-Trent were not working to an agreed, shared vision and that there was a lack of whole system strategic planning and commissioning with little collaboration. This meant that:

  • People found it difficult to access a GP appointment in a timely way and as a consequence many people went straight to A&E or were referred to A&E by their GP.
  • Older people often had poor quality experiences when they were admitted to hospital, including long waits in A&E before being admitted to a ward that met their needs.
  • Older people were often delayed in hospital after they were ready to return home or move to a new care setting. In some cases people suffered avoidable harm or their condition deteriorated as a result of delays.
  • People’s needs and care packages in the community were not reviewed as regularly as they should be. This meant that people may have been at risk of entering into crisis if their needs had changed. It also represented a missed opportunity when people’s conditions might have improved, to release capacity in home care services that could be used to support other people who need care.

Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care, said:

"It is quite clear that some older people in Stoke-on-Trent have suffered a poor experience of care - because the local health and social care services have not been working together effectively. We have heard of a history of poor relationships across the system with limited joint working. The consequences are too many people ending up in hospital in the first place – or being unable to leave hospital because there are no support services available.

“Leading organisations in the health and social care system, including Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Group, need to come together urgently to improve services for people, and in particular develop how the system works together to prevent people from requiring acute hospital care.

“Our team found that the workforce across the local authority and the CCG were willing and enthusiastic about doing the right thing for people; but did not have clarity about how to achieve this.

“However we have found that the working relationships between the main organisations have started to improve. It is encouraging that there are some new leaders working in Stoke-on-Trent who have a clear understanding of the challenges that the system faces and are committed to transforming services for people by working in more of a joined up way.”


For further information, please contact Louise Grifferty on 07717 422917 or Helen Gildersleeve on 0191 233 3379. Journalists wishing to speak to the press office outside of office hours can find out how to contact the team here. Please note: the press office is unable to advise members of the public on health or social care matters. For general enquiries, please call 03000 61 61 61.

Last updated:
11 July 2018

Notes to editors

The Stoke-on-Trent local system review looked principally at how people move between services provided by 87 care homes, 46 homecare agencies, 46 GP practices, University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust and Staffordshire & Stoke-on-Trent Partnership NHS Trust.  

This review was carried out following a request from the Secretaries of State for Health and Communities and Local Government to undertake a programme of 20 targeted reviews of local authority areas. The purpose of the reviews is to understand how people move through the health and social care system with a focus on the interfaces between services, and identify any areas for improvement.

This review makes a number of suggestions of areas for the local system to focus on to secure improvement including:

  • There must be better and effective communication between leaders of the system.
  • There must be effective joint strategic planning based on the needs of the local population with clear shared and owned outcomes.
  • Attention should be given to long-term strategic planning across the system within an agreed joint performance framework.
  • System leaders should ensure effective delivery of their integrated strategic plans.
  • Strategic commissioning should be aligned to the agreed strategic plans and must include primary care
  • System leaders should ensure an integrated approach to market development which should include the monitoring of quality in the care and voluntary sectors.
  • An effective system of integrated assessment and reviews of the needs of people using services should be introduced urgently.
  • There should be integrated delivery plans which include resources and workforce.
  • The trusted assessor scheme should be implemented as soon as possible.

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.