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Professor Sir Mike Richards will be the new Chief Inspector of Hospitals

31 May 2013
  • Media

31 May 2013

The Chief Inspector will be responsible for assessing and judging how well hospitals put the quality of care and the interests of patients at the heart of everything that they do. He will provide the public with assurance that services are safe, effective, caring, well led and responsive to people’s needs.

He will oversee a national team of expert hospital inspectors that will carry out targeted inspections in response to quality concerns and regional teams of inspectors who will undertake routine inspections on a regular basis of all hospitals. He will also lead the development of a ratings system for NHS acute hospitals and mental health trusts.

Prime Minister David Cameron asked CQC to create this post in response to Robert Francis’s report into Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. In his statement to the House of Commons the PM said the Chief Inspector should take responsibility for a hospital inspections regime that examines the quality of care and makes an open, public and explicit judgment. The Chief Inspector will judge if a hospital is efffective, safe, responsive and compassionate.

Professor Sir Mike Richards said: ‘This is an exciting time to be joining the CQC and I am delighted to have been appointed the first Chief Inspector of Hospitals. I am passionately committed to the delivery of high quality care and to putting patients at the centre of everything we do. My job as Chief Inspector will be to ensure that patients come first in all our hospitals.’

CQC Chief Executive David Behan said: ‘The Chief Inspector of Hospitals has a vital role in delivering CQC’s plans to ensure hospitals are safe, deliver quality care and  put patients first. Mike Richard’s impressive clinical background will be an invaluable addition to CQC.’ 

CQC Chair David Prior said: ‘I am delighted that we have been able to appoint a Chief Inspector of Hospitals with such an impressive clinical track record. He is a doctor and clinical academic of the first rank. Mike Richards has transformed cancer treatment in this country and played a big part in changing perceptions about what patients have a right to expect from hospitals.’

Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, said: ‘I am delighted that Mike Richards has been chosen for this job. I have worked closely with Mike over the last eight months to improve patient safety by publishing surgical survival rates, and no one is more committed to driving up standards across the NHS.

‘Identifying our best and worst hospitals is an incredibly challenging job. Mike brings to this role a wealth of experience in the best practice of patient care, and he will be exceptional at carrying the confidence of the public and the medical profession.’

Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham said: ‘Mike Richards is an outstanding choice. He will have the full support and confidence of clinicians. He has an international reputation as an oncologist and has done more than anyone to improve cancer treatment in the UK. Throughout his career he has always been firmly on the side of patients and I have no doubt that he will be able to entrench patient safety, compassion and clinical outcomes at the heart of hospitals in England, where they belong.’

Professor Don Berwick, President Emeritus and Senior Fellow of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, who is chairing a committee to make recommendations for action on patient safety, said: ‘It is crucial to the success of the Chief Inspector of Hospitals that the Inspector be trusted by clinical leaders, staff, and managers throughout the NHS. Mike Richards perfectly fits that bill; he is ideally equipped by background, achievements, and personality to engender trust between managers and clinicians.  He has shown persistence and success as a leader in his pursuit of needed and challenging change and I know that he will apply those capabilities to shaping the future activities of the CQC.’

Professor Richards joins CQC from NHS England, where he was appointed as lead Director with responsibility for reducing premature mortality across all conditions.

In 1999 he was appointed as the first National Cancer Director at the Department of Health, leading the development of the NHS Cancer Plan, the first comprehensive strategy to tackle cancer in England. He also led the development of the End of Life Care Strategy.

Prior to his appointment to the Department of Health, Prof Richards was a Consultant Medical Oncologist at Guy's Hospital specialising in breast cancer (1986 - 1995) and Sainsbury Professor of Palliative Medicine at St Thomas' Hospital (1995 - 1999).

For media enquiries call the CQC press office on 0207 448 9401 during office hours or out of hours on 07917 232 143.

For general enquiries call 03000 616161.

Notes to editors

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, caring, well-led and responsive 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.  

Last updated:
30 May 2017