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DH launches investigation into CQC

The DH has launched an investigation into the Care Quality Commission, amid fears that the regulator is neglecting its core duty of investigating patient care in favour of bureaucratic provider ‘registration' processes of the type required of GPs in 2013.

Last week a team of DH officials led by Una O'Brien, the department's permanent secretary, visited the CQC's headquarters to interview 40 staff, including CQC chief executive Cynthia Bower. CQC officials insist the review was part of a wider performance and capability review of all DH quangos, but reports suggested that ministers launched the probe due to concerns over a series of damning reports highlighting care failings.

In September, the prime minister lent his backing to a highly critical report by the Health Select Committee that accused the CQC of prioritising bureaucratic ‘registration' of providers over its duty of regulating patient care. Earlier this year the Department of Health postponed the requirement for GPs to register with the CQC until April 2013, a year later than the original deadline.

A CQC spokesperson said:‘More than 40 staff from across CQC – including inspectors – were interviewed by a team from the Department of Health, led by the permanent secretary.'

‘We are arranging for the DH team to visit our Newcastle customer services centre, and one of our regional offices. We have found it an extremely helpful process.'

A DH spokesperson said: ‘It is essential that the health and care regulator, the CQC, is performing to the highest possible standards. We are currently carrying out a review of the CQCs' performance and capability to ensure that it is doing the best it can to protect patients. The findings of the review will be made public in the New Year.'

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