Head of CQC resigns after damning report

Head of CQC resigns after damning report

By Liz Lockhart

The head of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has quit after a report from the Department of Health revealed damning failures.   Cynthia Bower who was the Chief Executive of the CQC left her post whilst the media buzzes with news of failures in the supervision of care homes, hospitals and abortion clinics.

The report noted that there have been tensions within CQC and stated that ‘Of more immediate concern, over the last few months, relationships on the CQC Board have become fractured.’

The CQC was set up in 2009 but many experts have critisised the way it has handled the responsibilities which are expected of it.  The Department of Health report states that ‘With hindsight, both the Department and CQC underestimated the scale of the task of establishing a new regulator.  Even so, CQC could have done more to manage operational risks.’

Last year the CQC annual report claimed that it had carried out 15,110 inspection and reviews in the year ending 2011 but it has now admitted that there were only 7,368.

Simon Lawton-Smith, Head of Policy for The Mental Health Foundation says ‘The CQC was set a difficult and complex task and it is not surprising that it has sometimes failed to meet the demands on it.  It has done some good work, for instance we welcomed the decision to produce an annual report on the use of the Mental Health Act.’

‘But concerns still remain, notably that there are not enough visits and inspections of mental health and learning disability services, and there are too few Second Opinion Appointed Doctors (SOADs) to operate the Mental Health Act effectively.’

‘The CQC must do more to ensure that the safeguards for people detained under the Mental Health Act and supported under the Mental Capacity Act are fully complied with by local services.’

Mr. Lawton-Smith concluded ‘In particular we strongly endorse the recommendations around safeguarding and risk.  Even within the strongest governance framework, it is ultimately the front-line staff, their training and culture that requires the greatest scrutiny and focus.’ 

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