Ex-CQC chief 'hung out to dry'

The former head of the Care Quality Commission, accused of conspiring to cover up a report into flawed inspections at a hospital in Cumbria, told The Independent she has been "hung out to dry" and not given an opportunity to respond to the claims

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Former CQC chief Bower: I have been 'hung out to dry'

The former head of the Care Quality Commission accused of conspiring to suppress a report into NHS hospital deaths has denied any involvement in a "cover-up" in an interview with the Independent.

Cynthia Bower told the newspaper she and her former colleagues had been “hung out to dry” by the CQC and that she had been forced to leave her home and go "on the run" to escape the media.

Cynthia Bower resigned from her post as CQC chief last year
Cynthia Bower resigned from her post as CQC chief last year

Bower said in the interview: “This is a report that has hung people out to dry for something we categorically deny.

“I am unemployable. I have been accused of suppressing a report about babies dying in hospital. Who wants to give me a job?”

The 57-year-old added that she had "no reason to be concerned" about a possible police investigation into the alleged cover-up.

Profile: Former CQC chief executive Cynthia Bower

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Police to investigate NHS watchdog 'cover up' report

Cumbria Police is to examine an independent report into an alleged cover-up by the NHS regulator, the Care Quality Commission, over deaths at a maternity unit at Furness General Hospital.

Cumbria Constabulary is considering the content of the lengthy CQC report that was released last week.

A dedicated team of detectives will examine the report in detail and decide whether any further action is required.

We will keep the Metropolitan Police informed as appropriate.

We are committed to examining the report thoroughly, and it takes time to do this properly.

We anticipate examining the report will take three weeks.

– Cumbria Police Spokesperson

Francis: CQC scandal has 'echos' of Mid-Staffs report

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, the author of the Mid-Staffs report - Robert Francis QC - said there appeared to be "considerable echoes" in the Morecambe case of the findings of his report into the Mid-Staffs scandal.

He said: "There has been apparently a lack of candour and openness attrust level, there was a failure of a regulator to find out that things weregoing wrong and it appears that there could well have been, in many differentplaces, a lack of openness and transparency."

Robert Francis QC spoke on BBC Radio 4 this morning. Credit: Press Association

Practices such as redacting and suppressing critical reports "can become self-justifying", he said.

"There becomes a need to keep things quiet to try and sort them out. Whereas actually in something as important as public health we need to be quite open," Mr Francis said.

He added that he had heard and seen evidence of "concerns being raised by individuals at both ends of the organisation being considered very unwelcome by the leadership" of the CQC during his inquiry.

EX-CQC executive denies hospital 'cover-up' claims

A former deputy chief executive of the Care Quality Commission has denied any involvement in any decision to delete a critical internal report.

Last week, an independent report of the regulator's investigation of mother and baby deaths at a maternity unit in Cumbria found evidence of a "cover-up".

Former deputy chief executive Jill Finney

Jill Finney told the BBC: "It was quite clear on reading the report that it was not satisfactory and CQC should have done more. So at that meeting we agreed that the report required much further work.

"There was not a decision at that meeting to delete that report, nor was there an instruction."

She also said that Grant Thornton, the accountancy firm who carried out the review, failed to give either herself or two other colleagues, the opportunity to put forward their side of the story.

Read: NHS regulator 'cover-up' names revealed

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Tory MP 'deeply troubled' by Burnham's CQC comments

Conservative MP David Morris said he was "deeply troubled" by former health secretary Andy Burham's comments about the Care Quality Commission.

The MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, who has written to Mr Burnham, said: "I was deeply troubled to read you had 'no immediate recollection' of any conversations about Morecambe Bay. A feeling that has been strengthened by your admission on today's Murnaghan that conversations may have happened.

Former health secretary Andy Burnham.
Former health secretary Andy Burnham. Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

"In their evidence to the Mid Staffordshire inquiry, both Baroness Young and Roger Davidson refer to 'pressure' from the last Labour Government while you were health secretary.

"You have denied this in the strongest possible terms, which leads me to conclude that you are implying that they both misled the inquiry, despite being under oath?"

Burnham: I never said to the CQC 'don't say that'

I never said to the CQC 'don't say that, do say the other'. That wasn't my role, they were an independent regulator.

Obviously we had discussions about problems that were in the NHS, we had a discussion about Basildon hospital and it was at that point that I said we needed to have a system that could provide the reassurance that people needed and also where there were problems for them to be brought out.

The central allegation that I was kind of in that period trying to say don't do anything, don't say anything, don't bring any problems out, keep them all hidden, is fundamentally disproved by the decisions I took in relation to the expediting the registration of hospitals

– Andy Burnham, Shadow Health Secretary talking to Sky News's Murnaghan programme

Burnham denies pressuring CQC on scandal cover-up

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham denied putting pressure on the health watchdog to play down concerns over a scandal-hit hospital trust where mothers and babies died.

Andy Burnham. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has been under fire over allegations it covered up its failures over investigations into the Morecambe Bay trust.

The Sunday Telegraph claims it has seen documents which revealed the CQC was intent on suppressing negative publicity and was under pressure from Labour ministers in the run-up to the 2010 election.

But Mr Burnham, who was health secretary at the time, said he denied the central allegation that he put pressure on the CQC to cover-up information about Morecambe Bay.

He said it was "fundamentally disproved" by the decisions he took to actively identify problems at hospitals during his time in office.

Burnham 'actively worked' with CQCs

Shadow Heath Secretary Andy Burnham.
Shadow Heath Secretary Andy Burnham. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Former health secretary Andy Burnham has denied putting pressure on the CQC, insisting he actively worked to identify problems at hospitals during his time in office.

Responding to questions from Morecambe and Lunesdale's Tory MP David Morris he said he introduced a new system of registration of hospitals and urged the CQC to complete the work before the end of the parliament.

"The very purpose of this process was publicly to identify organisations with weaknesses," he said.

"At the end of it, 22 separate organisations were registered with conditions. So, far from covering up any problems at hospitals in the pre-election period, I hope you can now see how I was actively working to identify them."

Read: NHS trusts chief faces resign calls over CQC scandal

Read: Parents' grief amid hospital 'cover-up' scandal

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