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Healthcare regulator appoints campaigner to advise on safety

A father whose high profile fight for answers over the death of his baby son at an NHS hospital led to the setting up of an independent inquiry has been appointed an adviser to the Care Quality Commission.

James Titcombe will take up the full time role of national adviser on quality and safety at the end of the month, initially for a six month period.

Announcing the appointment at the CQC’s board meeting yesterday, chief executive David Behan said Mr Titcombe’s experience working in the nuclear industry as well as his knowledge of the NHS would enable him to make a useful contribution to the regulator’s work.

Mr Titcombe’s son Joshua was less than two weeks old when he died in November 2008. Mr Titcombe had to fight for an inquest into the death which was finally held three years later. It found there had been a series of failures in Joshua’s care at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust’s Furness General Hospital maternity unit.

Mr Titcombe said he hoped his role could make a difference. “I want to help ensure we get patient safety and culture right,” he added.

Mr Titcombe has also been highly critical of the CQC’s former leadership, accusing previous chief executive Cynthia Bower of being involved in a cover up the failings at the hospital. A recent internal review found there was no evidence to support this allegation.

He has successfully campaigned for an independent inquiry into poor care at the trust.

CQC chair David Prior said: “He is an outstanding person, very balanced and obviously a very courageous man and I think he will contribute a lot.”

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