Letters NHS regulator

Reorganisation and culture change still needed in the Care Quality Commission

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g1440 (Published 12 February 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1440
  1. John W L Puntis, consultant paediatrician1
  1. 1Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds LS1 3EX, UK
  1. john.puntis{at}yahoo.co.uk

The role of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is to check whether healthcare providers are meeting national standards, so it’s good that MPs now consider it fit for purpose.1 Why its new chairman David Prior is loudly proclaiming the non-evidence based ideology that the panacea for NHS woes is more competition to drive up standards is anyone’s guess, and surely this is not his role.

In fact, I wonder how much he actually knows about the NHS and its services. Educated at Charterhouse and Cambridge, he has worked at Lehman Brothers and Lazard Freres and was arrested as part of an investigation into financial irregularities at the private sector Cawston Park Hospital in Norfolk in 2007.2 Although exonerated, he admits the pain of seeing his reputation traduced in the local and national media without an opportunity to rebut the false allegations.2 This at least should make him empathise with the NHS, suffering a similar treatment at present.

Those like Prior who venture into health policy might care to reflect on the experience of competition in social care in England.3 This tells a tale of adverse effects on quality of care, deregulation and casualisation of the work force, and market failure, with serious consequences for patients, care users, and families. MPs may be happy, but I sense further reorganisation and considerable culture change in the CQC may still be required, perhaps with some changes at the very top.


Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1440


  • Competing interests: I support a comprehensive public service NHS financed out of general taxation.


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