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Quarter of care centres 'failing'
More than one in four health and social care providers are failing to meet essential standards of quality and safety, the health watchdog has found.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said it had to take action to improve standards in 27% of locations it inspected.
The CQC report, which is based on findings from unannounced inspections of 14,000 health and social care providers in England, said it had to instruct 3,687 organisations to improve services.
In extreme cases, services had to be completely shut down while others were given improvement plans.
It said that 77% of NHS services were providing the essential standards, compared to 72% locations in adult social care and 82% in independent healthcare.
The CQC said the key problems found upon inspection were the mismanagement of medicines, staffing numbers and record keeping. Almost two in five locations failed to meet the essential standard of medicine management.
"Our inspectors are seeing a worrying number of examples where safe management of medicines is being compromised, often by a lack of information given either to those taking the medicines, or those caring for them," the authors of the report said.
One in 10 organisations failed to meet the appropriate staffing levels and 15% of locations had poor record keeping. The inspectors also raised concerns about the premises used for social care.
CQC's deputy chief executive Jill Finney said: "Now that we've collected a significant amount of inspection data, we can use this information to probe more deeply into what lies behind risks in the system - this report is the first step in that process.
"CQC will use this information to help target our unannounced inspections - but we also want providers to look closely at this report in order to assure themselves that they are taking all steps necessary to protect people from poor care."