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19.06.13

CQC review ‘covered-up’ for highlighting regulator’s failures

The CQC has been accused of suppressing an internal review into its failure to notice problems at a maternity unit where police are investigating the deaths of at least eight mothers and babies.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt is to make a statement to Parliament on the matter this afternoon.

A Grant Thornton report commissioned by the regulator warns of a cover-up, with managers attempting to delete the CQC’s internal report into care at University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS FT.

The report highlighted key failures in the CQC’s inspection, and according to the Daily Telegraph – which saw copies of the report – the official who wrote the review was told it must be deleted as it was damaging to the CQC.

Consultants from Grant Thornton concluded: “We think that the information contained in the report was sufficiently important that the deliberate failure to provide it could properly be characterised as a ‘cover-up’”.

The Grant Thornton report says the author of the review “said that he felt very uncomfortable about the apparent weight that was being given in the meeting to the potential media impact and reputation damage his report findings might cause CQC. His view was that the focus instead should have been on patient safety and the protection of service users.”

The CQC responded: “The report shows how CQC provided false assurances to the public and to Monitor in 2010. We were slow to identify failings at the trust and then slow to take action. We should not have registered UHMB without conditions. We let people down, and we apologise for that.

“There is no evidence of a systematic cover-up or of any collusion between CQC and the Public Health Service Ombudsman, but the example of how an internal report was dealt with is evidence of a failure of leadership within CQC and a dysfunctional relationship between the executive and the board. There is evidence of a defensive, reactive and insular culture that resulted in behaviour that should never have happened.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@nationalhealthexecutive.com

Comments

Mike   19/06/2013 at 12:58

It is becoming increasingly clear that this organisation is not fit for purpose. As a GP Practice I am becoming ever more concerned about the standards and methodology of inspection. The organisation cannot get its own house in order and the Chair's comments this morning on the Today program did not instill confidence with an admission of outright dishonesty.

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