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CQC publishes independent report into its registration and oversight of University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust

19 June 2013

CQC commissioned this report from Grant Thornton to look into its own activities in relation to University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. We promised to publish in full once it had been considered by our board. That meeting is on 19 June and we are deeply disappointed that the report has been leaked to the media in advance of that.

This report reveals just how poor the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) oversight of University Hospitals Morecambe Bay (UHMB) was in 2010. This is not the way things should have happened. It is not the way things will happen in the future. We will use the report to inform the changes we are making to improve the way we work and the way we are run.

We are changing the culture of the organisation. The commissioning and publication of this report symbolises the approach we are taking and will continue to take. We are determined CQC will be an open and transparent organisation.

The report shows how CQC provided false assurances to the public and to Monitor in 2010. We were slow to identify failings at the trust and then slow to take action. We should not have registered UHMB without conditions.

We let people down, and we apologise for that.

There is no evidence of a systematic cover up or evidence that CQC tried to influence the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, but the example of how an internal report was dealt with is evidence of a failure of leadership within CQC and a dysfunctional relationship between the executive and the board. There is evidence of a defensive, reactive and insular culture that resulted in behaviour that should never have happened.

The findings of this report are in tune with previous reviews and have many echoes of the Francis report in that it reveals a lack of communication between organisations and a failure to listen to people using the services.

Since the events detailed here, we have completely changed the executive team and have made substantial changes to the board.

We have completely rewritten our strategy with input from the public, providers and our own staff. We are now putting that strategy into practice and will radically change the way we inspect hospitals, starting this autumn.

We will improve the way we register and inspect hospitals, and improve our oversight of hospitals, using better intelligence and longer, more thorough inspections. The consultation document “A new start” sets out our proposals for radical change and invites feedback. We will use this feedback to guide us before we launch our new way of working in the autumn.

This report redoubles our determination to create a culture that values the views of the public and puts them at the heart of what we do.

David Prior, CQC’s Chair, said: "CQC’s Chief Executive, David Behan, was absolutely right to commission an independent report into CQC's handling of the registration and subsequent monitoring of UHMB - and absolutely right to publish it in full. The publication draws a line in the sand for us. What happened in the past was wholly unacceptable. The report confirms our view that at a senior level the organisation was dysfunctional. The Board and the senior executive team have been radically changed.

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About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.