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MPs approve former NHS chair as new head of CQC

by Jess Hacker
23 February 2022

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The Health and Social Care Committee has approved the former NHS Resolution head as the new chair of the CQC.

MPs confirmed Ian Dilks’ appointment following a pre-appointment hearing on Tuesday (22 February).

Mr Dilks – who was the Government’s preferred candidate for the role – previously chaired NHS Resolution, the arms-length DHSC body managing compensation claims for NHS England.

He chaired the body for six years until December 2020, during which time he introduced a greater focus on patient safety.

The Committee, led by former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, said this experience was ‘valuable’ and indicated a ‘strong track record in making important and lasting change’.

However, the Committee held some concerns around Mr Dilks’ lack of experience in the social care sector: a ‘vital’ area of the CQC’s work.

It was for this reason that the decision to endorse his appointment was not unanimous among Committee members.

MPs had also pressed Mr Dilks on how he would address the challenges facing the CQC, including recent reports of ethnic minority-led GP practices being disadvantaged by the regulator’s inspection process.

He told the Committee: ‘I can think of a number of reasons why certain practices may feel that way. I suspect that, in practice, the situation will vary from one practice to another.’

He added that where a GP practice might be ‘falling short’ of the expected standards, there is an opportunity for ICSs to ‘feed back into the system to support that care provider to improve’.

On the appointment, Mr Hunt said: ‘Ian Dilks brings valuable experience to the role of CQC chair from his prior work in the NHS. However, he was honest about not having knowledge of the social care sector, a vital element of the CQC’s work. As a result, the endorsement of his appointment was not the unanimous view of the Health and Social Care Committee.

‘We have registered our concerns about the lack of the diversity of candidates progressing through the appointments process and have urged the Department for Health and Social Care to redouble its efforts in this area.’

Recent analysis led by Pulse, Management in Practice’s sister title, suggested there was a 176% increase in people reporting a bad experience from GP providers in 2021 after the launch of the CQC’s ‘Give feedback on care’ portal.