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Baroness Young in positive report shocker

Pulse’s spinometer went off the scale yesterday when an embargoed press release arrived in our inbox from the Care Quality Commission entitled NICHOLSON AND YOUNG ‘NAME AND FAME’ HIGH PERFORMING TRUSTS.

By Ian Quinn

Pulse's spinometer went off the scale yesterday when an embargoed press release arrived in our inbox from the Care Quality Commission entitled NICHOLSON AND YOUNG ‘NAME AND FAME' HIGH PERFORMING TRUSTS.

Its subject was the result of the Commission's first publication of performance ratings for trusts, since it took over from the Healthcare Commission.

Its significance, apart from creating one of the naffest new phrases in recent times, was surely more in its tone.

Far from the grim reaper-style verdict many were expecting, David Nicholson, blunt-speaking NHS chief executive and Barbara Young, CQC chair, were positively falling over themselves to be positive about the state of our much-maligned NHS management.

Yes, this is the same Baroness Young of Old Scone who only in May was promising to ‘do a number' on the big chunk of failing care trusts she claimed were dragging down the NHS.

It's the same Baroness who even more recently was telling policy makers at a forum in Westminster that many would fail to even qualify to make basic registration requirements for the CQC once it swings fully into action.

But this week a rainbow of forgiveness seems to have arched over the CQC boss, who said she wanted to ‘acknowledge publicly the achievements of these trusts and thank them for all they have done on behalf of patients.'

Amid all the naming and faming there was not even a mention in the joint release of the 20 trusts rated ‘weak' this year on quality and the nearly 30 of them that have not been higher than ‘fair' for quality and financial competence the past four years.

The question for GPs, who as of 2011 will find themselves under the scrutiny of CQC registration, is whether the Baroness will continue to have such a sunny disposition when what is likely to be far more than 80% of them are found to be better than weak.

Or whether, with the election already safely out of the way by then - along with the need for the Government to put a more positive spin on the state of the NHS-the CQC will rediscover its teeth and, to use its boss's phrase, 'do a number' on them.

All smiles: has the Baroness gone soft? All smiles: has the Baroness gone soft?

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