Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Rob Behrens, responds to the Care Quality Commission’s State of Care 2020/21 report:
This report provides a valuable analysis of the impact COVID-19 has had on health and social care services, while rightly recognising the resilience of the workforce.
It is clear that existing weaknesses in the health system have been exacerbated by the pandemic. I fully support the CQC’s view that government support must facilitate collaborative, joined up working across the sectors. To improve patient safety and decrease pressure on staff, we must learn from the failings of outdated, ineffective systems and processes to support new ways of working. This is a once in a generation opportunity to change for the better, including as a debt owed to the victims of the pandemic.
Complaints are a vital source of insight to identify where improvements can be made. It is crucial the Government prioritises learning lessons from its handling of the pandemic by swiftly carrying out the promised public inquiry, so it can quickly implement changes that will help services to recover. Delaying this process will only compound what will inevitably be a challenging and lengthy recovery for the health and care sectors.