CQC not fit for purpose - doctors
The under-fire health regulator is "not fit for purpose", leading doctors have said.
The British Medical Association (BMA) said that it has "no confidence" in the Care Quality Commission's (CQC) ability to regulate health services.
Dr Mark Corcoran told the BMA's annual conference in Edinburgh that the CQC had "failed" to perform its essential duties. He listed a series of blunders by the regulator, including the latest cover-up scandal and its failure to properly investigate Winterbourne View care home where a number of patients were abused by some of the staff.
"It transpires that CQC 'inspected' Winterbourne View three times in the two years prior to May 2011 and judged it to be compliant with essential standards of quality and safety," he said. "It seems CQC failed to perform its essential duties."
He questioned whether the organisation had changed following the criticism it received in the past. He said: "Has it changed? Has it heck. Now, Furness General Hospital - here we go again - this time it appears the CQC may have failed to pinpoint avoidable deaths in the maternity unit.
"But worse still, there is a suggestion that they covered up a report criticising the truth. What on earth are CQC playing at? Why do they still exist? How many chances are they going to get? If they were doctors they would have been struck off.
"I appreciate that there have been changes in management but from what I read in the press, the organisation blunders on in a hail of finger-pointing, back-biting and recrimination, still seeking to justify itself as a credible force, still seeking to blame those who have gone before."
Delegates at the conference passed a motion saying that the BMA "believes CQC is not fit for purpose" and that they have "no confidence in the ability of CQC to regulate health services". They also said that the information governance function of the regulator should be "removed forthwith".
Three senior officials at the regulator have been accused of agreeing to suppress a report which highlighted its failure to properly investigate the spate of deaths of babies and new mothers at Furness Hospital in Cumbria. All three officials, the former chief executive Cynthia Bower, her deputy Jill Finney and media manager Anna Jefferson, deny the claims.
A CQC spokesman said: "The Care Quality Commission worked very closely with the British Medical Association during the registration for GP Practices in England and representatives from the BMA helped design the way the CQC is now regulating the sector. CQC looks forward to continuing to work closely with the BMA as it begins to change the way it regulates health and social care providers."