A shocking report reveals the full extent to which the Care Quality Commission (CQC) gave “false assurances” to the public on the quality of care at a trust.
Despite claiming that there is “no evidence of a systematic cover up”, the healthcare regulator admitted that there has been a defensive culture which resulted in a report into a series of baby deaths at a Cumbria hospital being destroyed.
Echoing parts of the Francis report into the failings at Mid Staffordshire hospital, the independent report, release yesterday, states there have been “failures of leadership” on a large scale.
David Prior, CQC’s chair, said: “CQC’s Chief Executive, David Behan, was absolutely right to commission an independent report into CQC’s handling of the registration and subsequent monitoring of UHMB – and absolutely right to publish it in full.
“The publication draws a line in the sand for us. What happened in the past was wholly unacceptable. The report confirms our view that at a senior level the organisation was dysfunctional.”
Prior added that since the incident, the CQC board and senior executive team has been “radically changed”.
More than 30 families have taken action against Furness General Hospital in relation to baby and maternal deaths since 2008.
A spokesperson for the NHS Confederation said: “It is not acceptable that the CQC, which should have been the body that acted on behalf of the public, failed in its duties.
“The findings show that the NHS needs to change its culture. We must have a more transparent regime that operates in the interests of patients and the public. We are determined to get this right.
The spokesperson added that a government inquiry into the failings of services at Morecambe Bay NHS Trust is “fully welcomed”.
Royal College of Midwives’ chief executive Cathy Warwick said: “The RCM looks forward to working closely with CQC into the investigation in Morecambe Bay.
“We welcome the changes to the CQC’s role, including the appointment of the new Chief Inspector of Hospitals, to provide a champion and watchdog for exposing bad practice and care in the NHS and efforts to improve hospital inspections.”