NHS cover up is unacceptable wanrs Health Secretary
A cover up by England’s NHS regulatory body after a series of baby deaths at a Cumbria hospital is unacceptable warns the Health Secretary.Jeremy Hunt was speaking after a review of the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) response to complaints about several deaths at Furness General Hospital.
The review has shown a senior manager may have ordered the deletion of a report critical of the CQC last year.
Mr Hunt promised there would be “no hiding place” for those responsible.
In a statement to the House of Commons, he said the CQC was already introducing a tougher inspection regime and had just appointed a chief inspector of hospitals.
Meanwhile, he said the government was introducing measures to make the NHS more transparent, including a duty of candour to compel the health service to be open and honest about mistakes.
But Mr Hunt said the attempt to cover up as described in the report was “completely unacceptable” and the truth must come out.
“There should be no anonymity, no hiding place, no opportunity to get off Scot-free for anyone at all who was responsible for this. What happened at Morecambe Bay is above all a terrible personal tragedy for all the families involved. I want to apologise on behalf of the government and the NHS for all the appalling suffering they have endured.”
The CQC asked consultants Grant Thornton to investigate its failure to spot the problems – Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, which ran the hospital, had been given a clean bill of health in 2010.
The consultants found a year after this, with more concerns emerging, an internal review had been ordered into how the problems had gone unnoticed.
But in March 2012 it was decided the findings should not be made public as the review was so critical of the CQC. The order is said to have come from a senior manager who has not been named for data protection reasons. The individual denies the allegations.