Cumbria

CQC baby death 'cover up' claims: No police case

Joshua Titcombe
Image caption The inquiry into failings at Furness General Hospital will now focus on the death of Joshua Titcombe

Health regulator bosses accused of covering-up a review of baby deaths will not face a police inquiry.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will not be investigated for failings noted in an independent report that suggested an internal review had been suppressed.

The review highlighted the CQC's failure to investigate a spate of baby deaths at Furness General Hospital.

Ex-chief executive Cynthia Bower, deputy Jill Finney and media manager Anna Jefferson deny cover up claims.

A report by consultants Grant Thornton concluded there was "persuasive evidence" the actions of the three women "might well have constituted a deliberate cover-up".

The report prompted condemnation of the CQC by ministers and MPs, and Cumbria Police were asked to launch an investigation into the allegations.

But a force spokeswoman said the failure to act on the internal review, conducted by CQC's head of regulatory risk and quality Louise Dineley, "had no consequences for the health care provision for the people of Cumbria".

"The Louise Dineley report did not raise any further issues of significance that were not already known to the trust or the police investigators," the spokeswoman said.

'Real scandal'

The police investigation into the hospital's failings has been narrowed to look only into the death of Joshua Titcombe who died at nine days old at Furness General Hospital in 2008 after staff failed to spot and treat an infection.

His father James Titcombe said: "There has been too much focus on the Dineley report.

"The real scandal with CQC was the woefully inadequate actions they took in response to known patient safety risks at Morecambe Bay and elsewhere in the NHS.

"The elephant in the room is the clear evidence we have seen from senior people within CQC at the time who have said that they felt there was political pressure not to expose 'bad news'.

"It is clear that CQC are now taking robust action to transform the way they work and this is hugely positive.

"However, there now needs to be a wider investigation to look at who else was involved in what has now emerged to be the wider scandal of the sustained and systematic suppression of serious problems in parts of the NHS over a number of years."

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