The fallout from the CQC ‘cover-up’ report and the rest of today’s news

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5.48pm: Ms Jefferson is quoted as saying in a statement to the BBC: “I am a new mother myself and the thought of what the families who have lost babies at this hospital have gone through is heartbreaking.

“I would never have conspired to cover up anything which could have led to a better understanding of what went wrong in the regulation of this hospital. I am so appalled that I have been implicated in this way.”

5.31pm: BBC News political correspondent Norman Smith tweets that CQC media manager Anna Jefferson, named in the report, has denied its suggestions.

He tweets: “CQC media manager Anna Jefferson says as a mother, loss of babies was heartbreaking. and “I wd never have conspired to cover up anything

“CQC media manager Anna Jefferson -who still works for CQC - denies she said “This (the critical report) can never be in the public domain”

4.44pm HSJ’s report revealing who said what at the ‘cover up’ meeting is now live.

4.35pm The letter also reveals the CQC is seeking “advice on whether there is any appropriate action that may be taken in relation to these named individuals”.

4.30pm Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has commented on the CQC’s decision to release the report.

He said: “I’m very pleased the CQC has decided to publish the names of the people involved in this.  It’s a sign that the NHS is changing.  There has been a history of cover-ups for many years but there has to be accountability within the NHS for people’s actions when something goes wrong.

“It’s to the credit of the new management of the CQC that they got an independent report and did not run away from this problem.  They are committed to making the CQC what the public want – an organisation that speaks out without fear or favour when something goes wrong.”

4.00pm: HSJ reporter Sarah Calkin tweets:

Names out: Jill FInney was the one who ordered the report to be deleted

3.55pm: The CQC has published names of the individuals, which were anonymised in the highly critical independent report on its actions relating to Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust.

A letter to the secretary of state from David Behan and David Prior, published today, says:

“There were 4 members of staff present when the discussion about deletion occurred [according to the independent Grant Thornton review]:
“Mr E: Cynthia Bower - former chief executive - resigned
“Mr F: Anna Jefferson - media manager - current employee
“Mr G: Jill Finney - former deputy chief executive - resigned
“Mr J: Louise Dineley - head of regulator risk & quality - current employee”

Today’s CQC letter to the secretary of state is attached.

3.10pm: The Royal College of GPs has issued a statement about the future of general practice: Major investment is needed in general practice in order to keep the NHS sustainable and to ensure it provides value for money, whilst ensuring safe patient care. This is the call from the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) today, as it launches its vision for the future of general practice.

“The 2022 GP – A Vision for General Practice in the future NHS examines the pivotal role of general practice in a world in which patients will rely more than ever on the skill and compassion of their GP. Developed following extensive consultation with RCGP members, professional bodies and patient groups, it looks forward to a future in which GPs work in new ways to meet growing need and complexity whilst improving patient care and access to GP services.

“Enabling this vision will require a major shift in spending into general practice to address the current imbalance in funding, which sees GPs providing 90% of NHS care for only 9% of the NHS budget. This includes increasing the number of GPs by at least 10,000 across the UK, and investment in practice premises to allow more care to be provided in the community. 

“The 2022 GP cautions that only with added investment in general practice will GPs be able to move from an outdated 20th century model of fragmented primary and secondary, health and social care to a modern and efficient 21st century model of integrated ‘person-centred’ care, based within local communities.”

13.58pm: Next Wednesday’s Treasury spending review could force Chancellor George Osborne to make some unpopular choices, according to one academic.

Professor Malcolm Prowle said politicians need to address some fundamental issues including how the NHS is funded, asking “Should the NHS be financed by a newly introduced and compulsory health insurance scheme with individuals given a choice about the insurer (public or private)?”

Professor Prowle teaches at Nottingham Trent University.

12.16pm: HSJ understands the CQC is currently working out how to publish the names of the people identified only in initials in the Grant Thornton report.

12.08pm: A Daily Mail reporter has posted on Twitter that the CQC will publish the redacted names in the Grant Thornton report this afternoon.

12.04pm: The negotiation of the junior doctors contract has moved a step closer after NHS Employers and the British Medical Association published draft heads of terms for the discussions. Both sides will now consider the draft heads of terms over the summer before deciding whether to move to a formal negotiation of the contract.

11.46am: The University of Middlesex is giving an award to a CQC whistleblower.

Amanda Pollard will tonight be given an award, at the International Whistleblowing Research Network Conference in London.

11.40am: The Daily Telegraph reports a consultant general surgeon has been suspended by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust during an investigation into the deaths of 10 patients.

Cancer surgeon Sudip Sarker began working at the trust in August 2011 and the paper said “It is believed the Royal College of Surgeons is investigating both the deaths and post-operative complications among patients.”

11.30am: According to one of the BBC’s reporters on Twitter the CQC says it is: “Exploring all legal means possible to ensure names can be made public” of managers behind #CQC cover up

Original Tweet:

11.16am: Ministers are consulting on proposals to cut drug prices by between 10 and 20 per cent, the Department of Health has announced.

The consultation is a key plank of reforms to how the NHS pays for new medicines which are intended to be introduced in January 2014.

A DH statement said: “The Department of Health has launched a consultation to strengthen the statutory pharmaceutical pricing scheme, which covers the prices the NHS pays for branded drugs not covered by the voluntary Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS).

“The consultation is seeking views on a price cut on drug prices of between 10 per cent and 20 per cent to ensure the NHS is getting good value for money.”

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence will be responsible for assessing new medicines as part of the ‘value-based pricing’ regime.

Health Minister Lord Howe said: “We cannot simply spend more and more on drugs – this would mean spending less and less elsewhere.

That’s why we have asked NICE to look at the impact that drugs can have on people’s ability to work or contribute to the economy and society. 

“A drug that brings a lot of extra benefits may justify the NHS paying more, but equally the NHS might pay less for a drug that does not deliver wider benefits.

“NICE is a world leader in the assessment of medicines and other treatments and will now work with patient groups, the NHS and the drugs industry to take this important work forward.”

For more detail see the attached release from the Department of Health.

11.09am: In the Nuffield Trust/King’s Fund report I alluded to earlier there is an interesting piece from Lib Dem MP John Pugh arguing MPs are right to block reconfigurations, arguing that resistance to them comes from the failure of decision makers to tale legitimate concerns into account.

He writes that until the NHS “is prepared to listen to the voice and expectations of the public, plans hatched will tend to be scotched by public opinion. There won’t be the political will to see them through. And, arguably, there shouldn’t be.”

11.01am: The waiting times expert NHS Gooroo has analysed the latest set of wait time data.

A fuller analysis will appear on later this afternoon but he said the headline was “list size is sharply up, and one-year-waits have fallen again (but by less than expected)”.

10.45am: The Times’ take on the story is that officials involved in the “cover up” should face criminal charges. The paper reports comments from a former director of public prosecutions Lord Macdonald of River Glaven QC who suggested that some members of the CQC could have committed misconduct in public office.

Lord Macdonald reportedly told the Times: “If officials had deliberately suppressed failings from the public that must raise the question as to what criminal offences are being committed by that conduct.”

10.43am: The Daily Mail is the only one of the papers to have named individuals involved in the Care Quality Commission’s attempt to suppress an internal report that raised serious questions about its regulation of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust.

The paper claims former chief executive Cynthia Bower and former deputy chief executive Jill Finney were both present at a meeting where an order was given to “delete” the report. The attempted cover up emerged in a report commissioned by CQC’s new leadership that was published yesterday. It gives detailed descriptions of various meetings that took place but has anonymised all those involved by referring to them as Mr G and Mr E and so on. The Mail has not linked Ms Bower or Ms Finney to any of the pseudonyms. However, across a two-page spread it highlights the pension pots it claims the two women have left with.

10.32am: A joint Nuffield Trust/King’s Fund report released today has the views of MPs on the future of health and social care.

10.15am: The Daily Telegraph’s front page coverage of the CQC story is headlined “And still the NHS cover-up goes on”.

The paper said: “THe CQC said it could not publish the names because doing so ‘would have been breaching the Data Protection Act’. But last night the Deputy Information Commissioners warned regulators not to hide behind the legislation, which should never stop information being published if there was an overriding public interest.”

It added: “However, Mr hunt said redacting the names of officials in the report was the ‘right decision’ at the moment on the basis of the legal advice.”

It also quotes Peter Steel from Bevan Brittan who provided the CQC with legal advice as saying the commission was “actively considering” publishing the names.

The paper names “health chiefs in charge at the time of scandal”, including chief executive Cynthia Bower. chair Dame Jo Williams, operations director Amanda Sherlock, legal services director Louise Guss, HR director Allison Beal and communications director Jill Finney.

10.13am: And while we’re on the CQC, here is HSJ’s briefing on the commission’s attempt to put a cap on A&E at one hospital trust.

10.11am: Some interesting comments under yesterday’s CQC story.

10.04am: An HSJ exclusive from Sarah Calkin this morning, on NHS Direct directors having warned that 111 was unsafe but being overruled.

9:15am: Good morning, today on HSJ’s leadership channel, Darren Kilroy writes about how clinical leadership can overcome the healthcare system’s weaknesses and address the general disarray in urgent and emergency care.