Health and social care must merge to make savings, says CQC

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has called for greater integration between health and social care in its first major report to Parliament on the state of care in England.

The regulator also called for greater integration within the NHS between primary care and the acute sector. Staff training also needs to improve across all sectors, the report says.

The State of Health Care and Adult Social care in England claims £2bn could be saved annually if hospital admissions were reduced to the levels in the best performing trusts. The regulator calls for joined-up health and social care services, especially in primary care, to improve efficiency and provide a smoother service for patients.

The report found that the number of patient safety incidents reported in general practice was just 3,417 compared to 693,700 from hospitals. However, the CQC concluded that this was an indicator that practices should improve the reporting of incidents, not a measure of safe practice.  

Despite overall improvement in quality, there remains ‘unacceptable variation' in the performance of NHS trusts, with 5% rated ‘weak' by the regulator.

Editors' blog: Should councils run PCTs?

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