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21.06.13

CQC to improve inspectors training

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has set out plans to reform the CQC after it emerged that the watchdog had covered up failings in inspection at University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS FT.

An extra £40m will improve inspectors training and specialists will examine different services, rather than the same people inspecting all parts of the NHS.

The organisation should be modelled on Ofsted, Hunt said, and aim to give recognition to well-performing hospitals, as well as highlighting those in need of improvement.

“The awful deaths of babies at Morecambe Bay hospital were bad enough,” Hunt told the BBC on Friday morning. “But for the body supposed to be the champion of patients…to have actively covered this up is beyond belief.”

Concerns about Furness General Hospital maternity unit came to light in 2008, but the CQC gave the Morecambe Bay trust, which runs the hospital, the all-clear in 2010.

The deaths of 16 babies at the trust are now being investigated by Cumbria Police.

Grant Thornton has named staff as being at the meeting where deleting the document was discussed: Cynthia Bower, the former chief executive, Jill Finney, her deputy who allegedly gave the order, and Ann Jefferson, a media manager who still works at the organisation. All deny the allegations.

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