• Error leads to inspectorate having to repeat inspection of trust
  • CQC said it had now “tightened up some of our processes”

The Care Quality Commission has been forced to apologise to an NHS trust after inspectors used data for another provider as part of its inspection report.

The gaffe by the regulator has led to it having to repeat the inspection of The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital Foundation Trust after the flawed inspection in January this year.

This is the first time the CQC has ever had to repeat an inspection for an acute trust.

The quality watchdog told HSJ the mistake was down to a human error, which led to an incorrect link to another trust’s data being included in its data pack for inspectors, which was then used as part of the trust’s routine check of the hospital’s services.

The CQC told HSJ the error was part of the evidence appendix document, which underpins its inspections and is published alongside each report for NHS trusts.

A statement by the trust said: “On receiving a draft copy of the report, we identified an error in the data pack on which [the CQC] had based the process.

“We notified the CQC of this error immediately and they have subsequently investigated and written to us promising to return and carry out a fresh inspection in the near future. We appreciate their openness and their apology.”

A spokeswoman for the regulator confirmed a new inspection team would be returning to the trust at a future date.

She added: “Following the initial inspection in January this year, the trust raised some concerns that resulted in a review of how the inspection was conducted. As a result, we have decided to undertake the inspection again.

“We have apologised to the trust and will be undertaking a full review of the original inspection.”

Asked what the CQC was doing to prevent a similar error from happening again she said quality checks were always carried out to ensure data was correct and trusts are offered the chance to fact check and challenge reports.

“We have carried out a full review of our processes for this trust with the teams involved and proactively engaged with the trust as part of this,” she said.

“We have already tightened up some of our processes and will sh‎are with trusts how we present their data against our assessment framework at an earlier stage in the inspection period. As a learning organisation, we are also carrying out a wider review to identify any further areas for learning and ensure our processes are as robust as possible.”