PERFORMANCE: The Care Quality Commission toned down criticism in its recently published review of CMUH after the foundation took issue with the regulator’s draft version, a report to the foundation’s board claims.

The board paper, obtained by HSJ under the Freedom of Information Act, says that on 11 February 2011 the foundation received a draft of the CQC’s report.

The board paper noted: “The overall [CQC] conclusion stated that the trust ‘…was not meeting one or more essential standards. Improvements are needed.’”

This was based, it says, on “concerns raised by one of the assessors on the meal of one patient,” and on “completed [knowledge and skills framework] appraisals”, the report said.

The foundation’s board paper, prepared by medical director Bob Pearson and associate director of governance Sarah Corcoran, continued: “The executive team had concerns about the factual accuracy and tone of the [CQC] report. Letters and further evidence were prepared and submitted. The assessor contacted the trust on 28 February indicating that the report had been amended accordingly.”

The regulator said the CQC’s final report would read that the foundation was “meeting all standards but to maintain this, minor improvements are recommended”.

CQC’s final report on CMUH, published on 2 March, stated: “Manchester Royal Infirmary was meeting all the essential standards of quality and safety we reviewed but, to maintain this, we have suggested that some improvements are made.”

A spokesman for the regulator later said it was “normal practice” for trusts to be shown a draft report to allow them to check for factual innaccuracies but that trusts “cannot make representations at this stage”.

In the case of the CMUH draft report, he said: “We have discovered that the trust was a initially sent a working unfinished document in error, our subsequent draft and final reports on our system for this review stated that improvements were needed to maintain compliance with the standards.”

A spokeswoman for CMUH said: “The draft report we initially received differed from the verbal feedback on the day and the overall findings were at variance with the full narrative. Following discussion and the submission of additional evidence, it transpired that there had been an administrative error by the CQC which was then rectified.  We support the work that the CQC does in ensuring patient safety and quality of care.”