Morecambe Bay trust failings prompts watchdog criticism

Furness General Hospital The trust covers the under investigation Furness General Hospital in Barrow

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An NHS watchdog has been heavily criticised for the way it dealt with failings at a trust that covers hospitals in Lancashire and Cumbria.

MPs said the Care Quality Commission (CQC) failed to protect patient safety.

Their report criticised the way it did not make sure all essential standards were being met at University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.

Police are investigating deaths of a number of babies at one hospital - Furness General in Barrow.

The hospital was ordered to make improvements after the deaths in the maternity unit, where a number of mothers also died.

'Address shortcomings'

The House of Commons Health Committee report, released earlier. said: "It is failures such as those witnessed at Morecambe Bay which undermine public confidence in the CQC's essential standards."

Police were called in after the inquest, in June 2011, into the death of Joshua Titcombe, of Dalton, Cumbria, nine days after his birth at Furness General, in October 2008.

It ruled Joshua died of natural causes but midwives had repeatedly missed opportunities to spot and treat a serious infection.

In response to the MP's report, Conservative Stephen Dorrell, chair of the committee, said: "The CQC's primary focus should be to ensure that the public has confidence that its inspections provide an assurance of acceptable standards in care and patient safety.

"We do not believe that the CQC has yet succeeded in this objective.

"It is essential that the CQC reforms its culture and working practices to address these shortcomings."

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