The woman who oversaw the NHS in the West Midlands at the time of the Stafford scandal has been named as being part of a cover-up to suppress a damning report about baby deaths in Cumbria.
Cynthia Bower was by then head of the health watchdog the Care Quality Commission which according to an independent report acted to cover up its own failings to address concerns about patients. Our political correspondent Alison Mackenzie reports.
The cover-up of the Care Quality Commission's failure to investigate a number of baby deaths went all the way to the top, it has emerged.
Cynthia Bower, the ex-boss of the health care watchdog has been implicated in the alleged cover-up, after officials published the names of those involved.
Former CQC chief executive Cynthia Bower was there during a discussion of the deletion of an internal review which criticised the regulator's inspections of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, where some mothers and babies died.
When the report was published yesterday, the names of those involved had been redacted, and the CQC said it had chosen to remove the names following legal advice.
In a statement, the Bradgate Mental Health Unit, said that it has increased its annual spend on staff by £600,000 each year since 2011.
“Patient safety is the utmost priority for our Trust. The Care Quality Commission, after their routine inspection in October, was satisfied that our ward staffing levels are right and in place. The Trust increased its annual spend on mental health staffing by over £600,000 in August 2011, employing additional staff for the Bradgate unit.
“The temporary absence of non-nursing therapeutic staff when the CQC conducted its inspection did not and does not relate to patient safety, but would enhance patient experience. We are taking action to respond to the inspection by improving the availability of therapeutic activities and have now recruited specialist workers to do this.
"The Trust is also set to open a new £5.2m 20-bed mental health ward in April this year at the Bradgate Unit. The ward is part of the Trust’s ambition to create a Centre of Excellence bringing major improvements to the hospital environment and support the work underway to improve patient care and the experience of the people who use services. The total Centre of Excellence project is worth £23 million and has been underway since 2009 and has created five new wards and a new Involvement Centre at the Bradgate site."
– John Short, Chief Executive, Bradgate Mental Health Unit
In a statement, the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, which runs the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, says it has carried out a review on nurse staffing levels.
"We are committed to providing high quality care for our patients and over the last year we have successfully recruited to a large number of clinical posts for both nursing and medical staff.
"We have also carried out a review of the nursing establishment on all wards across all hospital sites in the Trust and are in the process of introducing a new staffing template to be used on every ward.
"We understand the data used is more than a year old and many changes, such as those described have taken place since then."
– Spokesperson, United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust
In a statement, Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said it has taken action following the Care Quality Commission inspection at Stamford & Rutland Hospital.
“Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission raised moderate concerns that the level of staffing was not always adequate on the John van Geest ward at Stamford and Rutland Hospital from when they visited in August 2012.
“The Trust has recruited a new ward manager and the successful candidate started in her role in November. We have also been successful in filling several vacant nursing posts.
In addition, staffing rosters have been reviewed and modified to ensure adequate staffing levels at weekends and during staff meal breaks.
“We continue to monitor staffing levels daily. We are confident these actions will ensure appropriate nurse staffing levels and care standards for patients.”
– Chris Wilkinson, director of care quality and chief nurse at Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust