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Royal College of Nursing chief executive andgeneral secretary Dr Peter Carter said: "It is shocking that more than onein four locations inspected in this report have failed to meet even essentialstandards of quality and safety.
"We are reassured that the CQC has taken action to address these failings; nevertheless, this presents a long overdue wake-up call for the Government. Those locations in question must be brought up to standard as a matter of urgency."
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.
More than one in four health and social care providers are failing to meet essential standards of quality and safety, the health watchdog found.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said it had to take action to improve standards in 27% of locations it inspected.