MPs criticise CQC 'failures'

The Care Quality Commission, the regulator of health and social care in England, has not earned public confidence, a scathing report by the Health Select Committee has concluded.

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CQC chief: 'We haven't stood still, we have made progress'

The chief executive of the Care Quality Commission, David Behan, has spoken about measures that have been put in place to increase confidence in health and social health care services.

He said: "We haven't stood still, we have made progress and we're determined we will continue to make progress.

"Then we can get on with the job that we've been asked to do which is to ensure that people gain access to high quality services."

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NHS watchdog claimed that whistleblower was 'mentally ill'

MPs have said that the Care Quality Commission was weakened last year when the body failed to address issues raised by whistleblower board member Kay Sheldon.

She had voiced concerns about poor leadership and safety breaches at the health regulator but the CQC "failed to address and act on them".

In August, The Independent reported allegations that the outgoing chair of the regular, Dame Jo Williams had attempted to discredit Ms Sheldon by casting doubts about her mental health.

Ms Sheldon told the Independent: "They were trying to discredit me as either mad or bad" Credit: The Independent

The newspaper said that Dame Williams had commissioned an occupational health doctor to psychiatrically assess Ms Sheldon without her knowledge.

A report concluded Ms Sheldon, who has a history of depression, was possibly suffering from "paranoid schizophrenia" although the doctor never met her and spoke to her briefly on the phone.

She said: “I am very open about my mental health problems, but it feels like they tried to use it against me".

Dame Williams also wrote to the then Health Secretary Andrew Lansley requesting that Ms Sheldon be removed from the board.

However, he later decided that she should stay after she started legal action.

Whistleblower: CQC has powers that they do not use

The Care Quality Commission watchdog was set up to ensure patients weren't at risk but a report by the Health Select Committee says it's failing us.

Whistleblower, Eileen Chubb, who set up her own charity after being angered by the standard of health and social care, spoke to ITV Daybreak.

She said that the CQC has 'plenty of powers, but they do not want to use them'.

Committee chair: 'Essential that CQC reforms its culture'

Conservative Stephen Dorrell, chair of the Health Select Committee, said he did not believe that the CQC had succeeded in its objective to ensure public confidence in acceptable standards of care and patient safety.

He added: "Public confidence in the CQC was further undermined last year by its failure to address issues identified within its own management, organisation, functions and culture by its own board member Kay Sheldon."

"It is essential that the CQC reforms its culture and working practices to address these shortcomings.

"The new CQC Chair must, as a matter of urgency, overhaul its governance structures to ensure the board sets clear objectives for the organisation, holds the executive effectively to account against these objectives, and regularly assesses its own performance and effectiveness."

Watchdog boss: CQC is making changes

New CQC chief executive David Behan said the organisation was changing the way it operates:

In our strategic review we consulted widely on a clear statement of our purpose and role.

We also set out our intentions to improve how we communicate with the public, make better use of information, and work more effectively as an organisation and with others, including those who provide care.

We also set out our intentions to tailor the way we regulate different types of organisations based on what has the most impact on driving improvement. We will put people's views at the centre of what we do.

We have already begun to make some of these changes and will continue this process next year.

We have demonstrated through the consultation on the strategy an open and transparent approach. We will ensure that openness and transparency are at the heart of the way we develop.

We are focused on protecting and promoting the health, safety and welfare of people who use health and care services.

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MPs: Watchdog's handling of whistle-blower 'unacceptable'

Public confidence in the Care Quality Commission was weakened last year when the body failed to address issues raised by board member Kay Sheldon, MPs said.

They said that it was "regrettable" that Ms Sheldon was forced to voice concerns about poor leadership and safety breaches at the regulator at the public inquiry into failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

The report states:

The decision by CQC board member Kay Sheldon to give evidence as a whistle-blower to the Mid Staffs Public Inquiry added to the controversy surrounding the CQC.

She identified serious failings within the management, organisation, functions and culture of the CQC.

Kay Sheldon's concerns were legitimate and it is unacceptable that the CQC failed to address and act on them before she felt compelled to approach the public inquiry.

The outgoing chair of the CQC was grilled about her handling of Ms Sheldon when she appeared before MPs in September last year.

CQC's handling of Morecambe Bay 'undermines public confidences

Furness General Hospital is at the centre of a police investigation concerning a number of deaths. Credit: PA

The CQC's registration process "was not effective in ensuring that all essential standards were being met" at University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, the Health Select Committee report states.

The maternity unit at one of the trust's hospitals - Furness General Hospital in Barrow, Cumbria - is at the centre of a police investigation concerning a number of deaths.

"It is failures such as those witnessed at Morecambe Bay which undermine public confidence in the CQC's essential standards," the report states.

MPs' report highly critical of social care watchdog

The Care Quality Commission regulates health and social care services in England. Credit: PA

The regulator of health and social care in England has not earned public confidence, a scathing report by MPs has concluded.

Failures in the registration process and the handling of a whistle-blowing board member have "further undermined" public assurance in the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the Health Select Committee said.

And despite "sustained criticism" the organisation has failed to define its core purpose, it added.

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