The three names – former Chief Executive Cynthia Bower, her Deputy Jill Finney and CQC Media Manager Anna Jefferson – were leaked to the press.
Current CQC Chief Executive David Behan and Chairman David Prior told the House of Commons Health Committee that their decision to keep back these names, citing data protection rules, was “wrong”.
Last month, the CQC published a review by consultants Grant Thornton into how the Commission had dealt with complaints regarding a number of baby and maternal deaths at the maternity unit of Furness General Hospital in Cumbria.
The review noted that the CQC had conducted its own internal view of the case, but the author had allegedly been instructed to “delete” that report in order to protect the CQC’s reputation.
The order allegedly came from Ms Finney and was “verbally agreed” to by Ms Bower and Ms Jefferson. All three deny these allegations.
David Behan (pictured), who ordered the Grant Thornton review, said he had decided to withhold the names of those cited in it as having ordered the cover-up, but admitted: “I clearly got that wrong.”
He also noted that CQC hospital inspections had been reformed: they now took more time and involved more clinical experts.
In 2010 the CQC declared Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, which runs Furness General Hospital, free of clinical problems – despite baby and maternal deaths and injuries that have since led to more than 30 families taking legal action against the hospital.