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26th June 2013

Quality and safety of services in doubt as full extent of CQC leadership involvement in cover up emerges

‘Scandal of the week’

We were wrong! The next big scandal in health and social care is actually bigger than the one we thought it might be…

Recently we thought that Norman Lamb’s home care ‘crisis summit’ might be preparing us for a health and social care scandal. It turns out that the next scandal is in some ways actually bigger than that.

In a turn of events that will send a shudder through anyone that uses health services, the ‘scandal of the week’ is rapidly engulfing the CQC, the organisation that is responsible for ensuring quality and safety of health and social care services.

A page turner

As scandals go, this has some of the ingredients of a Michael Crichton page turner. The story so far…

  •  The CQC botched its regulatory function at Furness General Hospital by failing to investigate mortality rates of mothers and babies in the maternity unit
  •  A report of an internal review of how the deaths went unnoticed by the CQC was deleted because it was too critical of the CQC, in effect a cover up
  •  The author of the report of the internal review was Louise Dineley, the CQC’s head of regulatory and risk quality
  •  Jill Finney then director of Strategic Marketing and Communications told Ms Dineley to “read my lips” when issuing the order to delete the report
  • Cynthia Bower, then CQC chief executive and media manager Anna Jefferson, verbally agreed with the order to delete the report
  • A report into the events after an investigation by consultants Grant Thornton was published this week
  • The CQC redacted the names of the CQC staff involved in suppressing the report
  • The CQC did a u-turn and named them after pressure from Jeremy Hunt and seeking legal advice
  •  There are reports that a culture of bullying and intimidation existed at the CQC, one of the very things which the CQC should eliminate among those it regulates

Proximity or conspiracy

As if all of this is not bad enough, suspicions of a malignant conspiracy are being voiced in some quarters. On the BBC Radio 4 World at One news programme broadcast on the 21st June 2013, MP Charlotte Leslie highlighted the close proximity of the head of NHS England with the former chief executive of the CQC.

Ms Leslie, the Tory MP for Bristol North West and a member of the all-party health select committee said: “What worries me about this whole saga is that the Morecambe Bay horrors and the Mid-Staffs horrors are actually symptoms of a far deeper and almost more sinister mafia like network at the centre of the NHS.

“There are relationships here that need some scrutiny. Cynthia Bower went on to a promotion to become head of the CQC from being at Mid-Staffs. She was the successor to David Nicholson who went on to a promotion to be chief executive (of the NHS), now of course has got another promotion to chief executive of NHS England. How are these appointments made?

“What are the relationships between them? Given that Cynthia Bower and David Nicholson would have been close, and she was running the CQC and Nicholson’s job was to make the NHS look good for ministers and government, what was going on there?”

Quality and safety assured with QCS compliance management

Whatever the truth behind such suggestions, many may be led to the assumption that the quality and safety of health and social care services regulated by the CQC are not to be trusted. However, this is simply incorrect. For service providers that use the QCS system and the service users themselves there are three key things to remember:

  • It is important to stress that the regulatory framework is sound. The QCS compliance management is designed to make sure the care that is provided matches the framework.
  • QCS compliance experts are specialists in their respective fields with the ability to evaluate processes and procedures in relation to the care environment in which they are intended to be used.
  • QCS is interwoven with TQM (Total Quality Management). This is a mechanism which ensures that practice that does not work or standards that do not measure up are corrected through a feedback loop.

With QCS compliance management you can rest assured about questions of quality and safety.

 Click here to register for a FREE trial to see how QCS lets adult social care, dentists and GPs achieve compliance.

 Click here to see the story ‘CQC Cover-Up: Jill Finney Sacked From New Job Over Health Watchdog's Failure To Investigate Baby Deaths’ at

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