CQC Head Decries Hospital 'Postcode Lottery'

The Head Of The CQC Has Told The BBC There Are Hospitals Where Patients Would Not Want To Go


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

The head of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has caused controversy by stating there are hospitals "where you would not want to go as a patient" in an interview with the BBC.

David Prior said a new inspection report had found "huge" variation between hospitals in different areas of the UK and was causing a postcode lottery.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's PM programme, he said England had some of the best run hospitals in the world, but this was not consistent enough and many trusts fell behind the expected standards.

Mr Prior said: "In those hospitals where you would not wish to go, you have a very poor damaged culture where employees feel they can't raise concerns, where patients are not listened to."

"It is important to make the point that many of these hospitals are good in parts... but those would be two hospital [trusts] that overall would come out to be inadequate."

Among those to face particular criticism from the CQC included Barking Havering and Redbridge hospital and Heatherwood and Wexham Park - both of which Mr Prior branded "inadequate".

Barking Havering and Redbridge was put into special measures in December after its accident and emergency department was found to be "unsafe".

Matthew Hopkins, the trust's new chief executive told the BBC that he is working to resolve the issues raised in the CQC report and that his clinical background would raise standards.

Heatherwood and Wexham Park trust did not respond to the BBC's request for comment in response to Mr Prior's criticism.

However, the CQC itself has come in for criticism in the last few months and years.

Last January, a parliamentary report concluded that the CQC had a lot of work to do to earn public confidence, after numerous failings were found in the way the authority was operated.

The CQC was instructed by MPs to overhaul its governance, but many critics have complained the organisation has not done enough to carry this out.

Expert Opinion
It is incredibly worrying that the CQC is effectively saying that there is a postcode lottery of standards of NHS care.

“The vast majority of the NHS carries out great work and saves many lives each and every day. But all patients should have access to the same high standards of care and safety should be the number one priority. In many of the medical negligence cases we deal with there are basic avoidable errors and it is vital that lessons are learned from these, not just in the individual Trust involved but also across the whole NHS.

“There is a real desire to improve standards in healthcare, there have been several reviews and many recommendations, but the important thing is that these words turn into actions and the underperforming services are brought up to meet the high levels of patient care elsewhere.”
Julie Lewis, Partner