RCoA response to CQC State of Care report

Responding to the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) State of Care report, Dr Liam Brennan, President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA), said: “As the single largest group of hospital doctors, anaesthetists play a critical role in the care of two-thirds of all hospital patients, both inside and out of the operating theatre. We have seen at first-hand the effects of social care pressures and their impact on an already strained NHS.

“The proportion of delayed patient transfers which are attributable to issues with social care - rather than NHS services - have increased from less than one-quarter to nearly four in 10 in just a three year period

As many as 8,500 beds in Acute Trusts are occupied by a patient who is medically fit to be transferred and the cost of these delays to the NHS is estimated to be between £900m and £1.2 billion per year. 

“Although both the NHS and social care system need more resources, the problem of delayed transfers of care shows the need for an integrated approach. The RCoA supports the establishment of an independent Office for Health and Care Sustainability to make future funding decisions which are informed by healthcare professionals and also strengthen social care provision.

“Whilst the CQC has previously noted that a lack of adequate staff in the acute setting threatens patient safety, today’s report shows the safety of hospital care is being protected for now, in no large part due to the professionalism of staff who routinely go ‘above and beyond’.

“However, the report also recognises that the future of quality and safety within the system is precarious, and that issues of staff recruitment, retention and welfare abound.

Results from RCoA surveys of its membership shows that 85% of anaesthetists in training are at risk of becoming ‘burned-out’ and that one-third of anaesthetists are struggling to deliver effective patient care, citing issues such as low morale, high levels of fatigue, a lack of qualified staff and inadequate facilities. We need to address these issues to ensure a healthy sustainable workforce, able to adequately care for its patients.”


09 October 2017