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‘We need to act now’: Patient safety at risk as coronavirus set to compound NHS winter crisis, warns hospitals chief inspector

The chief inspector of hospitals has warned that patient safety is at risk if the NHS winter crisis is worsened by coronavirus – and ministers must act now in emergency departments to prevent a catastrophe.

Professor Ted Baker, speaking to The Independent in his first interview since the COVID-19 outbreak hit Britain, warned that the NHS could not carry on as before as hospitals across the country struggle to return to normal care while the crisis continues.

“If we are going to do something about it, we need to act now, not at the beginning of winter,” he warned, adding the Care Quality Commission (CQC) was also worried about patients being “forgotten” as NHS waiting lists surge to an expected 10 million later this year.

"We will be going into winter and all the difficulties of the winter viruses that we normally face, together with Covid. I think next winter is going to be very difficult, unless emergency departments and the whole system supporting emergency departments do things very differently.”

He warned providing care in the NHS under the shadow of coronavirus was “a formidable challenge … probably bigger than the challenge we faced at the height of the pandemic”.

Prof Baker also told The Independent that the CQC was investigating a number of reports that some hospital patients were discharged unsafely to care homes following a staggering 55% rise in whistleblowing complaints, particularly in care homes, with 2,612 calls between March and May.

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Source:  The Independent, 17 June 2020


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