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Care Quality Commission: Morecambe Bay Hospitals — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:04 pm on 20th June 2013.

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Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health 12:04 pm, 20th June 2013

My Lords, the deputy Information Commissioner is quoted as saying that confidentiality and data protection issues should not stand in the way of disclosure where disclosure is clearly in the public interest. I completely agree with that. That is why our instant reaction yesterday, when we were told by the CQC that legal advice had said that the names of the individuals had to be kept confidential, was to challenge that. I am pleased that that decision is to be reversed and the names will be released.

On my noble and learned friend’s second point, most certainly yes: the CQC should take a view about matters relating to negligence. However, I would add that apart from the CQC, we now have the new Healthwatch bodies, part of whose function will be to make sure they provide good soft intelligence on what is happening in NHS and social providers in their local areas. The Healthwatch bodies can then act as the eyes and ears of the CQC, which, with the best will in the world, cannot be everywhere at once. In terms of the future—this is clearly a longer-term agenda—I hope we will have a system that is better equipped to pick up this kind of incident should it ever occur again.