Yesterday I asked the Secretary of State for Health to challenge the Care Quality Commission’s decision not to publish the names of those responsible for the Morecambe Bay hospital scandal.
Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab): The CQC’s chairman said on the radio this morning that he could not publish the names of those responsible for this scandal because of the Data Protection Act, but there are clear and explicit exemptions to the Act when it comes to “protecting members of the public from dishonesty, malpractice, incompetence or seriously improper conduct, or in connection with health and safety”.
Will the Secretary of State please challenge the CQC’s interpretation of the Act and, if necessary, ask the Information Commissioner to rule on this flawed decision?
Mr Hunt: I can reassure the right hon. Gentleman that neither the chairman of the CQC nor I have any interest whatsoever in keeping these names secret. He did receive legal advice telling him that he could not publish them, but I will go back to him with what the right hon. Gentleman says. I know that the CQC chairman would like to be as transparent as possible. The choice he had, on the basis of the legal advice, was either not to publish the report or to publish it without the names. I think he took the right decision, given the advice he had, but I will ask him to consider what the right hon. Gentleman says.