With news breaking that Liberal Democrat chair Tim Farron has written to the Metropolitan Police calling for an investigation into the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) alleged cover up of multiple baby and maternal deaths in Cumbria, the investigation is rapidly gathering pace.
Between 2001 and 2012 it is claimed that poor care and neglect caused the deaths of up to 16 babies and two mothers at the maternity unit at Barrow-in-Furness General Hospital, part of the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust.
Another nine infants were born with permanent brain damage.
Despite multiple warnings about the dreadful failings at the unit, a CQC report gave the trust a clean bill of health after a two-day inspection in 2010. When a CQC official produced a document showing that the 2010 inspection had been seriously flawed, bosses told him to destroy it to protect the watchdog’s reputation.
The storm is raging over the regulator’s refusal to name those who instigated the apparent cover-up over deaths of mothers and babies at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay (UHMB) NHS Trust. However, it is alleged that Cynthia Bower, former chief executive of the Care Quality Commission, and her deputy Jill Finney were ‘round the table’ when the decision was taken to delete the evidence detailing the botched CQC inspection.
The government’s health minister Jeremy Hunt has already publically apologised to the families of those who had died and stated his view that the cover up is “completely unacceptable” and that “individuals must be held to account."
He warned that "whole truth must now come out” and that there would be "no anonymity, no hiding place, no opportunity to get off scot free" over the allegations.
The Royal College of Midwives have yet to comment on the involvement of midwives in the scandal but yesterday issued a statement saying that they look forward to working with a new Chief Inspector of Hospitals. Cathy Warwick, their chief executive, says she hopes the appointment will “provide a champion and watchdog for exposing bad practice and care in the NHS and efforts to improve hospital inspections.”
Posted by Penny Hosie