A father whose high profile fight for answers over the death of his baby son at an NHS hospital led to the setting up of an independent inquiry has been appointed an adviser to the Care Quality Commission.
James Titcombe will take up the full time role of national adviser on quality and safety at the end of the month, initially for a six month period.
Announcing the appointment at the CQC’s board meeting, chief executive David Behan said Mr Titcombe’s experience working in the nuclear industry as well as his knowledge of the NHS would enable him to make a useful contribution to the regulator’s work.
Mr Titcombe has worked as a project manager in the nuclear industry for the past seven years. At CQC he will report to director of strategy and intelligence Paul Bate.
His son Joshua was less than two weeks old when he died in November 2008 following a series of care failures at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation.
Mr Titcombe has been highly critical of the CQC’s former leadership and has successfully campaigned for an independent inquiry into poor care at the trust.
Speaking to HSJ in a personal capacity, he said the fact the CQC had “held their hands up” in the face and admitted mistakes had been made in the past meant he did not “feel compromised in any way” in going to work for them.
The role will involve advising the CQC on the design of its new regulatory model and ensuring the voices of patients and relatives are heard throughout the organisation.
Mr Titcombe said it had been a “real shock” to find the initial report into Joshua’s death had been briefer than reports he had seen into low level issues in the nuclear industry.
“In the nuclear industry when it’s a safety issue, everyone is on the same level and there are no hierarchies,” he said.
“The culture of the health system needs to be the same so that anybody who raises a concern will be in no way discriminated against or penalised for doing so.”
CQC chair David Prior said: “He is an outstanding person, very balanced and obviously a very courageous man and I think he will contribute a lot.”