BBC News

Care: CQC chair 'desperately sorry'

The chairman of England's healthcare regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), has admitted his organisation had not been "fit for purpose" when it came to hospital inspections - and is still not fully up to standard.

A report published this morning suggests the CQC may have "deliberately" covered-up knowledge of its own failings in 2010, following a series of deaths of newborn babies at Furness General Hospital in Cumbria.

The chairman of the CQC, David Prior, who has been in the post for four months, said he was "desperately sorry" that the situation had arisen.

"Our job is to inspect hospitals, and we were not doing it properly," he said, and added that "we have been... giving assurances to the public that were not backed up by expert inspection."

He said that the previous "dysfunctional" management team at the organisation had been replaced: "The chairman, the chief executive, the deputy chief executive have all gone... and there were no pay-offs, nothing like that."

James Titcombe, whose son Joshua died at Furness General Hospital in Morecambe Bay, said that that the CQC need to show a "clear commitment to the kind of culture that people want to see".

He emphasised the importance of "ensuring that nothing like this can ever happen again".

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Wednesday 19 June 2013.