CQC answers parliament questions over Whorlton Hall inspection

CQC chief executive Ian Trenholm and deputy chief inspector of hospitals (lead for mental health) Dr Paul Lelliott have appeared before the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) to answer questions about CQC’s regulation of Whorlton Hall.  

As part of the inquiry into regulation of the hospital for people with mental health problems, the regulator has also commissioned David Noble QSO to undertake an independent review into previous regulation of the provider, which rated the care as ‘Good’.

Abuse of vulnerable people at Whorlton Hall was exposed by BBC’s Panorama programme last month. Following the programme, the CQC apologised that its inspection of the provider “missed what was really going on”.

As a result of the expose, the regulator said that it would “urgently explore ways in which we can better assess the experience of care of people who may have impaired capacity, or even be fearful to talk”.

It has also pledged to put in place stronger safeguards in the wider system to better identify closed and punitive cultures of care, including a strengthened role for independent advocates for people who are held in segregation.

To support the JCHR  enquiry, various documents have been provided by the CQC including:

  • All versions of the findings of the 2015 inspection identified to date.
  • A table which tracks the key changes between the different versions of the inspection findings.
  • The published 2016 report.  

The CQC has also commissioned a wider review of its regulation of Whorlton Hall between 2015 and 2019, which will include recommendations for how our regulation of similar services can be improved, in the context of a raised level of risk of abuse and harm.

The full terms of reference for both independent reviews will be published on the CQC’s website, and the findings of the reviews presented at CQC’s public board meetings.

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