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Chair of NHS regulator resigns to become government minister


David Prior has stepped down as chair of the Care Quality Commission to become a health minister in the new Conservative government.

Mr Prior, who was a Conservative MP until 2001 and is a former chief executive of the party, has been made parliamentary under secretary of state at the Department of Health with immediate effect.

He will be made a peer to take up the role, and will replace Lord Howe at the DH, who it was announced yesterday would move to the Ministry of Defence.

The health secretary will appoint Mr Prior’s replacement. The CQC said the search for the new chair would begin immediately.

“David’s experience and insight will be a fantastic addition to the ministerial team”

David Behan

Mr Prior became CQC chair in January 2013 following a stint as chair of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust between 2002 and 2013.

Together with chief executive David Behan, he has been responsible for guiding the CQC through a period of significant change in the wake of the Francis report, which found that regulatory failings contributed to poor care at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.

Mr Prior said he was “enormously excited” about his appointment. “However, it is a bitter sweet moment for me because I have loved working at CQC for the last two and a half years,” he added.

“It has been a great privilege to work with so many talented staff who are committed to improving the lives of people who use health and care services. 

“I believe that the new regulatory model we have developed will not just identify poor care, but also stimulate and encourage services to improve.

Mr Behan said: “David’s experience and insight will be a fantastic addition to the ministerial team. The news of his appointment is, however, tinged with sadness as it means that we will be losing a fantastic chair.”

Two other new health ministers have also been appointed, Ben Gummer and Alistair Burt. They replace Dr Dan Poulter and Norman Lamb, respectively.


Readers' comments (4)

  • May 2015 and the CQC are still accepting - over LONG periods of time -very unsuitable, incompetent nominated care managers in care homes instead of qualified Care Managers.
    CQC must make sure people vulnerable service users have named, appropriate Relevant Person's Representatives.
    And if they have not then ensure action is taken with OUTCOMES against the home and the Supervisory Body. The whole system is still failing the elderly user with complex needs!
    Until the vulnerable are genuinely protected the CQC are premature with their crowing.
    Anyone daft enough to imagine that Supervisory Bodies and Providers have the vulnerable persons best interests as top priority needs to get real.

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  • CQC should be taking enforcement action where needed within a much shorter timescale. They let unsafe behaviour go on forever.

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  • Do nurses know that if a vulnerable person in a care home has their civil liberties restricted, e.g. not allowed out unaccompanied, then there should be a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguarding order in place after an assessment by the Local Authority? And it should be implemented in the "LEAST RESTRICTIVE" way possible, otherwise if they restrict more than the order specifies they are breaking the law.

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  • The CQC is doing good work and is an essential provider of quality assurance. However, it is working within an institutional-political-economic framework that is abusive in its effects. Paying care workers minimum pay rates and 15-minute care visits are consequences of Local Authorities setting care contract funding at absurdly low levels. Care providers are expected to compete for the privilege of under-funding. All of this contributes to an institutional failure of care. We are all guilty here - the next time a politician tries to win your vote by promising to reduce taxes, remember the need for better funded care. Oh, and please don't buy rubbish 'newspapers' that cynically promote selfishness and consumerism and fail to report what is really going on. A random comment? NO! without accurate information none of us can work out what really needs doing about the things that really matter. Stop moaning and get involved - this is a democracy in which you can make a difference if you try. If you want better care, then join your local HealthWatch.

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