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More evidence of poor care at inpatient wards for people with learning disabilities or autism have been revealed in a new report by the Care Quality Commission.

The CQC found that the proportion of these services rated “inadequate” has more than tripled from 4 per cent to 13 per cent in just one year.

The regulator’s annual State of Care report, published today, also revealed that more than half of urgent and emergency services were “inadequate” or “requires improvement”, and at least one in four maternity services rated as “requires improvement” overall at 31 March 2020.

There has been “generally no improvement overall” to the quality of care provided in 2019-20, and the covid pandemic is threatening to widen existing health inequalities, the report found.

Private bill made public

One cost of the covid crisis was revealed on HSJ today when we reported that Circle Health and Spire Healthcare were handed the largest contracts to provide extra staff and capacity to the NHS during the first peak.

The deals are revealed in a series of contract award notices published for the first time, just as NHS England prepares to launch a £10bn procurement framework from which local leaders will commission independent capacity over the next four years. 

The contracts total around £1.6bn and broadly cover the first two months of the pandemic, between the end of March and the end of May.

Circle (which acquired BMI Healthcare last year) and Spire were each given contracts worth around £350m for services during the first wave. Ramsay Health Care, Nuffield Health, and HCA International were also given large contracts.

NHSE has had a block booking in place with private providers between March and October. Contracts covering the period between May and October have not yet been made public.