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One in ten CQC inspectors hired despite failing recruitment standards, calls for a review of 18-week wait, and NICE consults on drug to treat alcoholism

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Thursday 10 July.

One in ten inspectors hired by the CQC to perform inspections under its old regime were hired despite failing ‘some or all’ recruitment requirements, because of a ’significantly flawed’ hiring process.

The Telegraph reports that a leaked internal audit said CQC judgements about the institutions it has inspected ‘may be impaired’ because of these failings, and former inspectors have said patients may be at risk because of it.

The report shows that 126 staff who failed tests are still working as inspectors, accounting for 1 in 10 of the CQC’s 1,031 inspectors. The Telegraph reports inspectors earn around £40,000 a year for the role.

There should be a review of ‘one size fits all’ waiting targets for routine operations, according to a BBC interview with new Royal College of Surgeons president, Clare Marx.

Dr Marx suggests that some patients need to be treated more urgently, and others could perhaps wait longer than the 18 week standard set for the time between a GP referral and treatment.

King’s Fund chief economist, Professor John Appleby said the 18 week standard had been key in reducing waiting times, ‘but it should not be a one-size fits all target. It is designed to enable urgent cases to be treated quickly, while allowing doctors flexibility to make appropriate clinical decisions.’

And a once-a-day pill for treating alcoholism, which could benefit nearly 600,000, has gained provisional approval after NICE issued draft guidance for consultation today.

The Independent reports that, Nalmfene is already used in Scotland, and works by reducing the ‘buzz’ that alcoholic patients get from drinking. The cost of rolling the drug out in England would be about £600m a year.

Professor Carole Longson, of NICE, said: ‘Alcohol addiction is a serious issue for so many. Those who could be prescribed nalmefene have already taken the first big steps in their fight against their addiction by visiting their doctor and taking part in therapy programmes.’

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