Feature Interview

Mike Richards: “Sometimes people can trade too much on reputation”

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h5965 (Published 05 November 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h5965
  1. Nigel Hawkes, freelance journalist, London, UK
  1. nigel.hawkes1{at}btinternet.com

The shock rating of world renowned Addenbrooke’s Hospital as inadequate was chief inspector Mike Richards’s most controversial decision to date. But, he tells Nigel Hawkes, the backlash won’t force a relaxation of his regime

The chief inspector of hospitals, Mike Richards, has hit back at critics of his decision to rate Cambridge University Hospitals inadequate. In an interview with The BMJ he said that the rating, the most controversial he has made since becoming chief inspector, was fully justified, evidence based, and agreed without dissension by the 50 strong inspection panel. “Sometimes people can trade too much on reputation,” he said of Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie hospitals.

He rejected “emphatically” the charge that he was simply setting people up to fail, or that the Addenbrooke’s rating was at odds with its clinical reputation or likely to damage its future.

In the past, he said, there had been no special reason to doubt the hospital’s quality. “But in the past year in our data, things were beginning to flag—things …

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