Furness General Hospital
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Letter 'encouraged police not to pursue' CQC probe

The health regulator in England is coming under growing pressure to name the senior managers accused of covering up its failure to properly investigate baby deaths at a maternity unit in Cumbria.

The chief executive of the Care Quality Commission, David Behan, says he'll take fresh legal advice about the decision not to make public the identity of officials, who are said to have been involved in suppressing a damning review.

The internal report had criticised the Commission for giving Furness General Hospital the all-clear in 2010.

A former director of public health at NHS Cumbria, Dr John Ashton, says the police should investigate the matter.

Speaking to the Today programme's Sarah Montague, Dr Ashton revealed that he had "seen a letter from someone at the CQC encouraging police not to pursue [the activity of the CQC]" and that "it didn't merit investigation".

"I think there should be prosecutions... the public has a right to know what goes on in public funded services," he said.

"This is the only way that we will achieve [a] culture change," he added.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Thursday 20 June 2013.

  • 20 Jun 2013