Former cancer tsar Sir Mike Richards has been appointed as the first chief inspector of hospitals.
The appointment was exclusively revealed this morning by Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal.
The chief inspector and his team will sit within the Care Quality Commission and will lead the use of new powers to place trusts in a failure regime in response to care failures.
Sir Mike is currently director of improving mortality at NHS England. He was previously national cancer director for 12 years.
One source told HSJ: “The decision was taken that it should be a clinician in the role and that that is what would work best alongside [CQC chief executive] David Behan, who is a manager.”
The post was created by the government in response to the findings of the Francis inquiry into care failings at the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust. It will be a highly prominent role.
The job advert for the role said the chief inspector will “champion the interests of patients and make critical judgements about the quality of care provided.”
It adds: “The new chief inspector of hospitals will be a senior figure who will inspire the trust and confidence of the public, and who will have immediate credibility across the clinical professions.
“This is a public-facing role and the chief inspector must have the professional standing to be persuasive to the secretary of state, clinical professions, and the public.
“Most of all, the chief inspector must have a reputation for putting the interests of patients first, and provide an honest and independent assessment of how well or badly hospitals serve their patients.”