SENIOR Care Quality Commission managers accused of a cover-up involving a number of baby deaths at a South Lakeland hospital will not face a police inquiry.
Cumbria Police said that officers will not investigate the CQC for failings identified in an independent report that concluded there was ‘persuasive evidence’ that senior officials ordered a damning internal review to be deleted. The internal review highlighted the CQC’s failure to investigate a spate of baby deaths at Furness General Hospital. And the latest independent review, conducted by management consultants Grant Thornton, implied that the former chief executive Cynthia Bower, her deputy Jill Finney and media manager Anna Jefferson backed the suppression of the internal review.
There was a public outcry after the findings were published and police were asked to launch an investigation into the allegations. Cumbria Constabulary announced this week that it will not investigate the CQC for failings highlighted in the report.
A spokeswoman said that the failure to act on the internal review, conducted by CQC’s head of regulatory risk and quality, Louise Dineley, ‘had no consequences for the health care provision for the people of Cumbria’.
The spokeswoman added: “The Cumbria Constabulary investigation into the failings of Furness General Hospital continues. The constabulary will share its findings with the forthcoming Morecambe Bay Independent Inquiry.”
Furness MP John Woodcock said that the decision was ‘disappointing’ but added that the police ultimately had to make an assessment of whether they thought prosecutions could be brought successfully.
“However, the decision not to include the CQC in the police probe does leave the path clear for these shocking failings to be included in the independent inquiry that will shortly begin,” he said.
Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron said: “If the police suggest there is no need to launch a formal investigation then, while I am surprised, they are the experts and I will stand by their decision.
“What is important to me is that we get justice for the families, and I hope that the independent inquiry will help us get to the truth about what happened.”