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CQC 'sees no need to intervene' over failing hospital trusts

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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said it sees no need to intervene in more hospitals despite new research suggesting 12 acute trusts are significantly underperforming.

Health secretary Andy Burnham ordered an urgent review over the weekend after the head of Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust was sacked and a task force was sent in to Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Foundation Trust to force through improvements.

In response, the Care Quality Commission insisted it had “no evidence that there is another trust in England where we would take action of the kind we have taken at Basildon”.

Monitor, which oversees NHS foundation trusts, removed Richard Bourne as chairman of the Colchester trust following concerns about high death rates, leadership and waiting times and also intervened directly at Basildon.

In a letter, CQC chairman Barbara Young told Mr Burnham: “Further to our conversations about Basildon and Thurrock NHS Foundation Trust you wrote to us asking that we provide you with an assurance about all trusts across the country, and whether any direct intervention was needed in other cases.

“I want to assure you that while we are monitoring closely a number of other trusts where we have concerns, at this stage we currently have no evidence that there is another trust in England where we would take action of the kind we have taken at Basildon.”

She said there remained “a broad spectrum of performance of trusts” and was ready to use “tough new powers” under a new system of registration.

“As the regulator, we are absolutely committed to playing our role in monitoring performance and taking action where we need to,” she said.

“We are also committed to keeping the public informed about the quality of services so that people know about any safety issues.

“I hope this information provides you with the reassurance you asked for.”

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