Hospital Attempts to Cover-up Scandal

18 June 2013

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Hospital Attempts to Cover-up Scandal

The Care Quality Commission is accused of suppressing an internal review that uncovered critical weaknesses in its inspections, which may have cost the lives of mothers and babies.

Regulators deleted the review of their failure to act on concerns about University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, where police are investigating the deaths of at least eight mothers and babies. There have been accusations that midwives colluded to hide errors. The trust, which faces at least 30 civil negligence claims, will also be subject to an independent inquiry in public.

The regulator has come under fire in recent years for failing to protect patients and prevent a series of scandals, as it relied on “tick-box” systems which let hospitals vouch for their own safety. The CQC apologised. It has announced plans for a more rigorous inspection regime and Ofsted-style ratings. None the less, the regulator is expected to become embroiled in a deepening scandal.

A report suggests that senior managers were more concerned about protecting CQC’s reputation than about the lives of patients when they ordered the suppression of the review. It concludes: “We think that the information contained in the report was sufficiently important that the deliberate failure to provide it could properly be characterised as a 'cover-up’.”

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