CQC criticised in an independent review over whistle-blower response

Topics covered: adult social care, Care quality commission, CQC

On 29 March 2023 an independent review into CQC’s handling and response to the dismissal of Mr Shyam Kumar was published. The review established major failings by the Care Quality Commission (“CQC”) who are responsible for regulating England’s health and social care sector.

What happened?

The independent review was ordered after an employment tribunal on 24 August 2022 established the CQC had unfairly dismissed the surgeon, Mr Shyam Kumar, from his part-time role for the CQC. Mr Shyam Kumar worked as a special adviser on hospital inspections between the period 2015-2019, before being dismissed after raising whistleblowing concerns in respect of patient safety. Mr Shyam Kumar has since been awarded compensation. The whistleblowing concerns included inadequate hospital inspections, staff bullying and serious patient harm. The barrister-led review praised Mr Shyam Kumar for always acting in good faith, and in the interests of patient safety. The independent review published a string of criticisms about how the CQC executed their role as a regulator, including serious misconduct by CQC personnel.

CQC Response

The CQC said it had apologised for the unacceptably poor treatment Mr Shyam Kumar received and pledged to act on the findings of the review it had commissioned following the tribunal. CQC chief executive Ian Trenholm said:

 “Now we have received these reports, it’s important that we take time to consider how they can be a catalyst for meaningful change.”

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