MPs Call For Health Regulator Changes

A Group Of Influential MPs Has Called For A Health Regulator To Improve


A group of influential MPs has called the efficacy of the Care Quality Commission's (CQC) practices into question.

The Health Select Committee, which has members from all three major political parties, has suggested repeated breaches are not being punished properly - an assertion backed up by research published recently by the Daily Telegraph, showing that one care home was allowed to fail inspections nine times in a row and remains open.

Bosses at the Souldham Hall Nursing Home - the site in question - claim that improvements have been made to their operations and 2014 will see it pass its first inspection, reports the BBC.

But despite the CQC coming in for criticism, members on the select committee admitted this issue is not made any easier by the chronic underperformance of some hospitals and surgeries.

Staffing levels were a particular area of concern for the MPs and to mitigate this issue, the politicians want a minimum number of doctors and nurses to be on wards at any one time.

Committee chairman Stephen Dorrell said: "This should be applied across the delivery of health and care - doctors, midwives, practice nurses and social workers. Part of the difficulty in A&E is driven by the fact there are not enough doctors of all levels."

This sentiment was shared by Barbara Keeley, a Labour MP, who stated: "Staffing levels are absolutely fundamental. It is ludicrous not to be transparent about something that patients and their families can see every day."

Although the coalition has previously promised to hire more doctors through savings made through management reshuffles, Labour claims this is not enough of a priority for the government.

Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministers refute this and claim the NHS is continually improving - even with waiting times at some A&Es struggling over the winter period.

Despite the fact that the MPs' findings called the operations of the CQC into question, the organisation's chairman David Prior called the Health Select Committee's report an "important milestone".

Mr Prior hopes to hire more inspectors to meet the government's demand for better quality health services, but it still 150 recruits below its 1,100 target.

Expert Opinion
A key issue we see with many of our cases is that when unexplainable errors are made, our clients want accountability and to know that hospital staff are deterred from making the same mistakes again.

“We see many hospitals and care homes come into question time and time again where the CQC find a series of failings but adequate improvements are not made to improve the standard of care being given. Despite numerous negative reviews, improvements are not made because care providers are not regularly penalised.

“Many failings relate to a lack of adequately trained staff and although we share the Government’s concerns about the effectiveness of the CQC, we also believe more needs to be done to address funding for hospital trusts and social care services to ensure the appropriate resource is in place to provide the best standard of care possible for patients.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner