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The state of health care and adult social care in England 2014/15

This report marks a turning point for the Care Quality Commission. For the first time we are able to draw on a growing body of evidence, across health and social care, that we have created as a result of our new inspection approach. Our inspection reports and ratings give us a unique opportunity to start building a comprehensive picture of the quality of care in England and, importantly, enable us to identify and share key elements of high-quality care in order to encourage improvement.

I am pleased that most services we have inspected have been providing good quality care for the people who rely on them. This is heartening given the challenging circumstances facing all the sectors we regulate, and particularly adult social care. Across the country we have found staff who are doing their best for the people using their services every day and night, going above and beyond to look after everyone who needs their services.

Last year I wrote that financial pressures are real but not unexpected, and they would continue into 2015/16 and beyond. This continues to be a challenge. The Five Year Forward View starts to map out how the health sector can respond, but adult social care is not in such a strong position. What is clear is that, across health and social care, innovation and transformation of services will be vital. Incremental cuts and efficiency savings will no longer be sufficient to meet the challenges ahead.

This is an exciting opportunity to reshape services around the people who need health and social care. Evidence suggests that person-centred care is not only better for the individual, but can be more economical for service providers. We can only be successful in achieving this step change if we all work together: people, staff, providers, commissioners, and local and national stakeholders. As the quality regulator we commit to playing our part in enabling change, not being a barrier to it.

We believe the vast majority of people in the sectors we regulate share our aim of ensuring that all people who use services receive highquality care. However, naturally there are also some providers that are struggling to provide a high-quality service. Important elements for improvement include ensuring leaders effectively

engage their staff to build ownership of quality and safety, ensuring the right staff are in place to deliver safe care, and working collaboratively across the system to address cross-sector issues.

I am encouraged by the emerging evidence which suggests that our new regulatory model is having a real impact on the quality of these underperforming services and, where it is not, that our inspectors have the confidence to challenge and take enforcement action if necessary to protect people who use services from harm.

We appreciate all the time and effort that providers have put in to work with us to co-produce an approach to inspection that enables us to paint such a rich picture of how the sectors are performing. We hope you will continue to work with us as we evolve our approach in order to ensure people receive high-quality care, as services change in response to the challenges ahead.