In-depth hospital inspections are being abandoned due to funding cuts, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has announced.

Three years ago the NHS watchdog said it would carry out ‘in-depth’ reviews of hospitals and GP services. The healthcare organisation is then rated outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate.

This strategy was put in place after the CQC was accused of helping to cover up the scandal at Morecambe Bay Hospital, where up to 19 babies and mothers died between 2004 and 2013 due to failings in medical care.

The CQC has now announced that these comprehensive inspections are to be scaled back because of a 13% cut in funding.

It has said that a more “targeted approach” will be deployed instead, with inspections aimed at the areas of greatest risk.

This means that just one core service within a hospital could be inspected – such as surgery – rather than all services.

“A return to the bad old days”

The CQC also announced that services with the best ratings could have longer gaps between visits. GP practices rated good or outstanding could be left for five years before having another inspection.

NHS Trusts will only have a full-scale inspection if data or patient information raises concerns over the quality of care.

Peter Whyman, chairman of the CQC, said: “As an organisation, [the] CQC will be costing less…while ensuring that our focus on the safety and welfare of people who use services is never compromised.”

But the news has caused alarm amongst patient safety groups. Joyce Robin, from Patient Concern, said: “This is depressing and worrying – it sounds like a return to the bad old days.”

“I wish they could learn the lessons from the past, instead of just repeating them.”

Poor medical care

If you or your loved one has been harmed by poor medical care, please get in touch with us at Glynns Solicitors.

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