Hospitals have made “no improvement” in monitoring the quality of patient care in light of the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust scandal and “no improvement” in keeping patients safe or treating them with dignity, the Care Quality Commission has said.
Poor hospital care in the last year was also more likely to have had a negative impact on patients than the previous year, the regulator’s annual review of NHS and social care services in England found.
More than half a million people aged 65 and over are now being admitted to hospital in an emergency with avoidable problems, the State of Care report also showed.
These problems include malnutrition, pressure sores and urinary tract infections.
There has been a 64 per cent increase in the last six years in pneumonia admissions among older people, while inhalation of food or liquid has led to a 52 per cent rise, and admissions for urinary tract infections have seen a 45 per cent increase.
The report said: “In the aftermath of the failures of care at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust, our inspectors’ biggest concern in 2012-13 was that acute hospitals made no improvement in assessing and monitoring the quality of care they provided.
“We also found no improvement in safety and safeguarding, or in hospital patients being treated with dignity and respect.
“Around half (47 per cent) of the problems we uncovered in our inspections in the NHS in 2012-13 had a major or moderate impact on patients.
“This is a deterioration from the previous year (39 per cent).”
Overall, CQC inspectors found poor care in about one in 10 of all hospital inspections.
Looking at dignity and nutrition for older people, the CQC said it was “alarmed to see that there were fewer hospitals where patients were always treated with dignity and their privacy and independence respected”.
It said it was “clearly unacceptable that this position, poor to begin with, had deteriorated further.”
Problems included staff discussing confidential patient details in public and staff “talking over patients as though they were not there”.
Patients could not always reach call bells and some staff did not respond to them in a reasonable time, the report went on.
On social care, the report said the care received by many people in 2012-13 was “still poor”.
One in five nursing home inspections revealed safety concerns, such as failing to give out medicines safely.
In half (51 per cent) of cases where inspectors found problems with adult social care, this had a major or moderate impact on people which was “no better than the previous year”.
The report added: “We issued more warning notices to tackle this poor care - 818 in 2012-13, compared with 598 the previous year - an increase of almost 40 per cent.”
The report sets out CQC’s findings about the quality of care in the year to 31 March 2013, and is based on more than 35,000 inspections.
An even more rigorous inspection and regulatory process - looking at a wider array of data - has been implemented by the CQC this year.