Exclusive: Second report into baby deaths scandal was buried

Another NHS boss in line of fire over CQC cover-up

The role played by NHS executives in the alleged Morecambe Bay baby deaths cover-up was exposed tonight, as a buried report revealed how regional officials resisted an investigation into the trust at the centre of the scandal.

The report by the consultancy firm Deloitte found that in 2011 the North West England Strategic Health Authority (NWSHA) was “not in favour of an investigation” into University Hospital Morecambe Bay Trust, where several mothers and babies had died. 

The CQC eventually agreed to begin an investigation into Morecambe Bay in January 2012, which finally uncovered the extent of the baby deaths scandal.

The authors of the Deloitte report warned that the health authority’s reluctance to approve the investigation could have been influenced by the fact that it was a “key part of the management hierarchy of the NHS, with a responsibility to protect its reputation”.

The Deloitte report was ordered by the CQC, but published quietly on the its website this year. It has only just come to light after the publication of another damning report into the scandal last week, which found that top officials at the CQC attempted to cover up its failure to act effectively over concerns about Morecambe Bay.

The NWSHA was led between 2006 and 2011 by Mike Farrar, who now heads the NHS Confederation, which represents all NHS Trusts. This week The Independent on Sunday revealed that the health service watchdog, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, is investigating complaints made by families against the authority when Mr Farrar was in charge. But the NHS Confederation insisted Mr Farrar was no longer leading the health authority when it was resisting any Morecambe Bay investigation by the CQC.

A spokesman said: “The SHA’s attitude to the January 2012 CQC investigation was formed and agreed after Mr Farrar ceased to be SHA Chief Executive in March 2011 and he played no role in that discussion or decision. Had the CQC proposed an investigation while Mike Farrar was chief executive… he would have welcomed their involvement and the SHA would have given them all the support and assistance they needed.”

The Deloitte report looks into two CQC investigations last year – one at Barking, Haveridge and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust and the other at Morecambe Bay. The review notes: “It has been reported to us that the SHA was not in favour of an investigation at either of the two trusts where one took place.”

The report concedes there are “arguably good reasons” for that, but adds that it “raises questions… about the dual, and possibly conflicting, nature of the role of an SHA, which is likely to be replicated within the NHS National Commissioning Board and which CQC needs to remain conscious of.”

A CQC spokesman confirmed that the Deloitte report had never been press-released, but insisted that some journalists had been alerted to its presence on their website. The report also found that there had been “an earlier missed opportunity” to investigate problems at the Trust.

Strategic Health Authorities were abolished in April and replaced with clinical commissioning boards.

Professor John Ashton, who was director of public health and county medical officer for Cumbria between 2007 and spring 2013, said Mr Farrar had “questions to answer” over what he told the CQC about Morecambe Bay, adding that regional health authorities like the one Farrar led had become focused on political reputation management. “The problem with the SHAs is that they were inward facing to ministers and not outward facing to the public,” he told The Independent.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Martin of Coldplay performs live for fans at Enmore Theatre on June 19, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
music
Sport
Dave Mackay lifts the FA Cup in 1967 having skippered Spurs to victory
football
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
Arts and Entertainment
As depicted in Disney's Robin Hood, King John was cowardly, cruel, avaricious and incompetent
film
Life and Style
Travis Kalanick, the co-founder of Uber, is now worth $5.3bn
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Media Sales Executives - B2B

    £20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Genius Ltd continue...

    Recruitment Genius: Media Sales Executives - B2B

    £20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Genius Ltd continue...

    Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

    £15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you have the right attitude,...

    Ashdown Group: Client Services Executive - Enfield, North London

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Client Services Executive - Enfield, North London ...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn