The BBC seems to be up to its old tricks as it fails to mention ‘Labour government’ in relation to yet another health scandal from the time of the last Labour government.
Not only failing to mention Labour and its failures in charge of the NHS but actually facilitating their attack on the present government.
Labour has picked up on a small phrase in the report by Grant Thornton on the CQC that said that the deleting of the internal report by the CQC ‘may constitute a broader and on-going cover-up.’
Victoria Derbyshire talks to Labour MP John Woodcock (11:20) who turns things very political…saying it is a most shocking allegation about the deletion of an internal report….he claims the report makes out that there are ‘strong grounds to believe that there is a broader and ongoing coverup’.
That is misleading as the report doesn’t say ‘strong grounds to believe’…it says this (para 1.117):
‘The report addressed many of the same issues the Whistleblower was to raise and the alleged decision to suppress it (very shortly before the Whistleblower submitted their own questions) may constitute a broader and on-going cover-up.’
That’s ‘may’ indicate a broader and on-going cover-up…..the cover-up being by the CQC itself.
Derbyshire encourages Woodcock…‘Can you explain this ongoing cover-up and what it means?’
Woodcock does then read out the paragraph in full and states: ‘It is hard to exaggerate the seriousness of that charge…ministers need to make clear who in the Department of Health was aware of these allegations, including if Ministers themselves knew.’
Woodcock is trying to draw in and implicate the government in the cover-up…despite the report saying most of the CQC itself didn’t know of the internal report and no where implicates the government….and all with the help of Derbyshire who hasn’t read the report herself and doesn’t bother questioning or challenging Woodcock’s claims or statements.
Here the BBC acknowledges ‘political decisions’ in the process but fails to say whose political decisions:
‘There are structural problems. When the CQC was created it took on the responsibility of the three regulators plus a new licensing regime but with a third less funds.
Unsurprisingly, the number of inspections it was carrying out soon started dropping.
What is more, the inspection regime it was told to follow relied on a large amount of self-assessment by trusts.
These were political decisions that had unintended consequences.
Here the BBC shows Jeremy Hunt giving an apology….again no mention of Labour by the BBC…and they miss out a later, important comment by Hunt:
The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has apologised to families affected by a series of baby deaths at a Cumbria Hospital after a report said that England’s healthcare regulator may have covered up knowledge of its own failings.
This is the comment by Hunt later in his appearance in Parliament:
When it comes to accountability, the right hon. Gentleman needs to explain to the House why the former head of the CQC, Barbara Young, said in her evidence to the Francis inquiry:
Is it the case that the head of the CQC felt under pressure not to speak out about care issues?
Tory MP, David Morris also remarked on this in the same parliamentary debate and in the ‘conservative home’ blog:
‘The former Chair of the CQC, Baroness Young, has made very serious allegations that ministers “leaned on” her to “tone down” criticism of NHS organisations. She claims that “there was huge government pressure, because the government hated the idea that a regulator would criticise it”. Damningly, she revealed that this political pressure peaked under current Shadow Health Secretary’s Andy Burnham’s tenure as Secretary of State. This is the man who turned down 81 separate requests for a public inquiry into the Mid Staffs scandal, and has attacked the current Health Secretary time and again for exposing and confronting “coasting hospitals”.’
This is what Baroness Young had to say about Labour’s attempted political interference in health care regulation:
Q. Did you come under any government pressure to tone down the wording of reports?
A. In a way it was the other way round. The reason the government didn’t like tough reports was because they were running the services that were being reported upon, and so we used to fight tooth and nail to be as robust as possible, and to be as open as — and independent. I was absolutely determined that we were not going to be a regulator who was subject to the government being able to muzzle it or to infringe its independence, or to prevent it from doing a good job on behalf of the public and patients, which is what we were there for.
So had the government tried to tone things down, I would not have accepted that, quite frankly. And I don’t recall us changing a report at any stage, while I was there, as a result of government pressure.
There was huge government pressure, because the government hated the idea that — that a regulator would criticise it by dint of criticising one of the hospitals or one of the services that it was responsible for. And that was part of the problem of the nature of the Care Quality Commission, when it was established, and that was it was regulating — it was one of the few regulators in British public life that regulates something that is directly run by the government, and that was always going to be a real problem.
And on page 80 she noted the conflict of interest in the government being both provider and regulator:
So the health service got it both ways — they — they — they could run as providers but at the same time they could advise the guy who was making decisions ultimately about the shape and nature of regulation. And so it did feel like a bit living in an episode of “The Thick of It”
Labour once again are being let off the hook by the BBC…it conspicuously failed to connect Labour to the Mid-Staffs scandal and seems to be doing something similar here…what’s being forgotten is the real cause of all the fuss..the actual failure of the Morecambe Bay hospital under Labour….and what looks like the systemic failure of the NHS as Grant Thornton suggests.
The CQC, like Gordon Brown’s ‘FSA’, was ‘too big to succeed’ having been created by the merger of three other regulatory bodies to become an unwieldy and disjointed beast.
Labour’s part in that is of little interest to the BBC, nor are the comments by Baroness Young about attempted political interference to reduce the effect of CQC reports…surely more than a little bit relevant in the present circumstances.
Woodcock has had a good run over the last couple of days given free rein to air his conspiracy theories unopposed….the BBC not bothering to put anyone up against him to challenge his claims.
Thirteen years of a Labour government..and you’d hardly know if you only listened to the BBC.