Call for single regulator with powers to sack boards of directors

A SINGLE regulator for the NHS could be created with new powers to sack boards of directors and close unsafe hospitals.

The Francis report calls for the heavily-criticised foundation trust regulator Monitor to be stripped of its responsibilities which should be handed instead to the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

It calls for the appointment of a chief inspector of hospitals and a new uniform national system of dealing with complaints.

Last night there already appeared to be doubts about the creation of a merged super-regulator which would have responsibility for safety, checks on standards and the financial competence, running and viability of NHS trusts.

In a statement, Monitor admitted the Mid Staffordshire trust should never have been given foundation trust status and it should have intervened earlier.

CQC chief executive David Behan said in future it would look more closely at how hospitals were run, include more clinical experts in inspection teams and listen harder to patients.

He added: “Regulators and supervisory bodies must be much better at identifying and challenging poor care and in working together to improve people’s experiences of care.”

In a move likely to have implications for the progress of some hospitals towards elite foundation status – including several in Yorkshire – the report calls for enhanced checks before an organisation is allowed to proceed.

It calls for new standards for directors who will be liable for disqualification unless they are “fit and proper persons” including a requirement to comply with a code of conduct. The report suggests trust governors should be given more powers, with only those with a minimum level of experience considered fit for the role.