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Questions raised over effectiveness of Care Quality Commission

The healthcare regulator is facing strong criticism as the Department of Health investigates the CQC’s work

Photo of elderly hospital patient: istock

15 November 2011

The Guardian has reported that the UK’s healthcare regulator, the Care Quality Commission, whose job is to regulate and investigate reports of poor standards of care in the country’s NHS hospitals and care homes, is being investigated by the Department of Health. In September 2011 the Select Committee on Health published a highly critical report about the CQC which accused the body on cutting back on the number of inspections it carried out and instead focused on the registration of care providers in the country.   

Lawyer at leading human rights firm Leigh Day have been approached by many families who relatives have received substandard or negligent standards of care in NHS hospitals and care homes.  The firm has successfully secured compensation for over 120 families whose loved ones received inadequate and substandard care at Stafford Hospital, which lead to their unnecessary deaths.  The current chief executive of the CQC is Cynthia Bower, former chief executive of the NHS West Midlands' strategic health authority, where she was responsible for supervising the performance of Stafford hospital.

Alison Millar, a partner in the human rights department is particularly concerned about the ‘light touch’ regulation of care providers, the inadequacies of which were demonstrated when Panorama exposed the scandal of abuse at Winterbourne View care home for adults with severe learning disabilities.   

She said:
"It is essential for the protection of patients that there is an effective inspectorate, which is able to detect neglect and abuse in the health and social care system and prevent bad practice occuring in the first place.  Sadly, the Winterbourne View, Stafford Hospital and other recent scandals have shown that the CQC has fallen a long way short of achieving this key role.  The approach to inspection needs a radical overhaul.  It is particularly important in our view that the system becomes more responsive to the concerns and needs of service users, their families and others on the ground, rather than the organisations providing care."

If you would like to speak to one of our solicitors please contact Alison Millar or Emma Jones on 020 765 1200.

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