Most people are getting good, safe care but future quality is precarious

Published: 10 October 2017 Page last updated: 12 May 2022

This year’s State of Care report – published today – shows that thanks to the efforts of staff and leaders, the quality of health and social care has been maintained despite very real challenges and the majority of people are receiving good, safe care.

State of Care cover image

However, it also warns that the health and social care system is at full stretch and struggling to meet the more complex needs of today’s population, meaning that maintaining quality in the future is uncertain.

The report sets out our analysis of the quality of health and social care across the country based on the first full round of rated inspections covering almost 29,000 services.

It shows that as of 31 July 2017, 78% of adult social care services were rated good as were 55% of NHS acute hospital core services; 68% of NHS mental health core services and 89% of GP practices and that many services originally rated as inadequate have used the findings of our inspections to make changes and improve their rating.

But, there are also clear warnings from the changing nature of demand – increasing numbers of older people who are physically frail, many with dementia, more people with long term complex conditions – all of which is placing unprecedented pressure on the system.

In acute hospitals, this means more people waiting over four hours at A&E; more planned operations cancelled, and people waiting longer for treatment. In adult social care, the number of beds in nursing homes has decreased across most of England and domiciliary care contracts are being handed back to councils because providers say the funding is insufficient to meet people’s needs.

Commenting on the report, Sir David Behan, Chief Executive of CQC, said:

“The fact that the quality of care has been maintained in the toughest climate that most can remember is testament to the efforts of frontline staff, managers and leaders. Many providers have used our inspection reports to improve, and we have seen improvements in safety in particular, although this area remains a big concern and focus for us. However, as people’s health and care needs change and become more complex, a model of care designed for the 20th century is at full stretch and struggling to cope with 21st century problems.

See the State of Care page for more information and to download the full report.

Read the report

You can read the report and explore the data on our State of Care page.