A former manager of the hospital watchdog the Health Care Commission (HCC) has launched a blistering attack on its replacement regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Dr Heather Wood, who led the HCC investigation into a high number of deaths at Stafford Hospital in 2008, said under the new regime, an investigation into appalling standards at the Mid Staffordshire Trust would never have happened.
Appearing at the public inquiry into failings at the trust between 2005 and 2008, she said she could only speak following a direction order by inquiry chairman Sir Robert Francis QC.
She told the hearing she was the subject of a compromise agreement with the CQC not to criticise it upon leaving the organisation last August.
“The CQC appears anxious not to rock the boat with any significant criticism of the NHS. My sense of the CQC is that it is firmly part of an NHS establishment with close relationships with SHAs, trusts and other bodies.”
My comment: There are two issues here, firstly the way so called watchdogs suck up to the bodies they are supposedly watching and secondly the rise of compromise agreements to stop the truth getting out by gagging potential whistle blowers.
I, and others, have been saying for years that the Local Government Ombudsman is firmly part of the Local Government establishment and not fit for purpose. Now it would appear that other watchdogs are no different.
Also note the recent rise in compromise agreements used by public authorities as a way of burying the truth. On top of that we have devious council officers in Stoke-on-Trent City Council trying to stop elected representatives from criticising them in public.
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