Mere months after Mid-Staffs became shorthand for everything that has gone wrong with Britain’s health care system (to the point that Dan Hodges was ripping his fellow lefties for trying to keep NHS on an ill-deserved pedestal), the Telegraph has word of more evidence that NHS is – as the locals would say – at sixes and sevens:
The NHS watchdog conducted a “cover-up” in which senior officials ordered that evidence of its failure to prevent a scandal at a hospital maternity unit be destroyed, a report will disclose tomorrow.
The Care Quality Commission is accused of suppressing an internal review that uncovered critical weaknesses in its inspections, which may have cost the lives of mothers and babies.
Regulators deleted the review of their failure to act on concerns about University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, where police are investigating the deaths of at least eight mothers and babies. There have been accusations that midwives colluded to hide errors. The trust, which faces at least 30 civil negligence claims, will also be subject to an independent inquiry in public.
The regulator has come under fire in recent years for failing to protect patients and prevent a series of scandals, as it relied on “tick-box” systems which let hospitals vouch for their own safety.
Tonight the CQC apologised (UK sp). It has announced plans for a more rigorous inspection regime and Ofsted-style ratings. None the less, the regulator is expected to become embroiled in a deepening scandal.
The story goes into detail of how the would-be regulators missed serious problems at Morecambe Bay, then tried to cover up their own failure. By the time its problems were finally acknowledged, “the trust had the highest mortality rate in the country, with 600 ‘excess deaths’ in the previous four years.”
One parent of a victim made his anger plain:
James Titcombe, whose baby son Joshua died there in 2008, after staff failed to treat a simple infection, said the cover-up was “appalling”.
“If you cannot trust the health care regulators, the very people who are there to ensure minimum standards of safety, who can you trust?” he asked. “I think this symbolises (UK sp) what has gone wrong with the culture of the NHS. We need honesty and transparency but this was frankly rotten.”
We would be wise to remember outrages like this when lefties in this country speak glowingly of “single-payer” systems.
Cross-posted to the right-wing liberal