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Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Chairman, Health Select Committee


Press Release Crucial error by NHS regulator: CQC must act now to regain public confidence

Image Crucial error by NHS regulator: CQC must act now to regain public confidence

Commenting on the news that CQC have hidden the names of staff involved in covering up an internal review into poor inspections of a hospital in Cumbria Julia Manning, 2020health Chief Executive, says:

“Given that the CQC destroyed an internal report that reflected badly on themselves, the public can only conclude that the CQC are still more concerned about their reputation (or historically Ministerial pressure to look good) than patient safety.

Only those who have lost children or young parents can know the incomparable grief experienced by those families. Yet this grief has been compounded by obfuscation, rebuffs and opacity. A culture of fear, paternalism and concealment still stalk the corridors and wards of the NHS, and as we now know, in the NHS regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) as well. It is only due to the campaigning by these families (again as we saw in Mid-Staffs) that is bringing the truth to light. Accountability is nowhere to be seen in the NHS.”

The culture of the NHS, and now it is clear, the regulator too, needs to change radically. There are some easy solutions that should start today:

  • NHS Trust’s case reviews should be open, include patients and all affected parties, not private board meetings. Only then will there be a chance for candour, learning and timely apologies. Most people just want to know the truth and can forgive errors if they know they have been listened to and the errors dealt with.
  • Those found to have deliberately hidden evidence or covered up should be subject to police investigation. Endless internal investigations and public inquiries delay justice and drive the growing spend on NHS litigation. 
  • CQC are putting new systems in place – but this needs to be more transparent with a ‘then and now’ for the public to see, and a fail-safe, on-line, open-view system for responding to public concerns should be on their website.
  • CQC should publically sack their lawyers who advised them to redact names from the report.
  • The CQC managers who ordered the internal report to be destroyed should be sacked if still employed, and their actions reviewed for possible obstruction of justice. Babies died and their parents are still in the dark as to many of the details. Jeremy Hunt should personally ensure that this happens.
  • All NHS providers, Hospital, GPs etc need to be made legally responsible for safety. Accountability will mean nothing until this happens.