An independent report recently claimed that the Care Quality Commission failed to properly investigate maternal and infant deaths at Furness General Hospital.
The CQC were called to investigate the Maternity Unit at Furness General Hospital due to the high number of maternal and infant deaths and injuries in the years leading up to 2010, which led to more than 30 claims in Clinical Negligence against the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. The Police have also been involved in the deaths of at least eight mothers and babies in recent years, however, have recently narrowed their investigation to the death of one baby, Joshua Titcombe. An Inquest into Joshua’s death had revealed that there were many missed opportunities to diagnose and treat a severe infection following his birth in October 2008.
Independent consultants who have investigated the CQC’s inspection of Furness General Hospital have revealed that there were key failures in the way that the CQC dealt with the Trust and that there was evidence to suggest that an internal review of the Maternity Unit was suppressed.
The new CQC chairman, David Prior, has explained to the media and the Government that since the investigation at Furness General Hospital, members of senior management have been replaced and the CQC would be dedicated to openness and transparency in the future. From September, the CQC will publish the names of any hospitals which were causing concern.
It is important that the public trusts the watchdogs put in place to investigate and improve our hospitals, particularly in light of the Mid Staffordshire Scandal. It remains to be seen whether the CQC will be able to restore public confidence in the future.
By Gemma Crompton