Controversial Appointment to Caring Together Board
Caring Together is part of the wider NHS reorganisation of health and social care across eastern Cheshire. The aim is to encourage providers of care to work together with the people who receive care, their support networks, family, friends and carers.
In response to a Labour question at the Cheshire East Council meeting on 14 May, it was revealed that the Council had not been involved in the decision to appoint Dame Jo Williams as Chair of the East Cheshire Caring Together Executive Board. Speaking at the Cheshire East Council meeting, the Health and Adult Social Care Portfolio Holder said that the Council were told after the event and that Dame Jo Williams has not yet accepted the post.
Dame Jo Williams was the chair of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) until 2012. During her tenure there were well-publicised failings at the CQC. Dame Jo Williams was forced to step down after making public comments on the mental health of a fellow CQC board member who had blown the whistle over Mid Staffs Hospital. A Parliamentary enquiry found that the whistle-blowers allegations were substantially correct.
Local care quality campaigners have expressed concern that Dame Jo’s appointment could undermine public confidence in the Caring Together programme and discourage future whistle blowers from coming forward.
Councillor Laura Jeuda said, “I was dismayed to hear of the appointment of Dame Jo Williams. It seems that this appointment has been made without consultation with Cheshire East Council. The Caring Together programme is about working together with all providers of Health and Social Care. This appointment, made without even informing the Health & Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee, suggests that working together is not happening in Cheshire East.”
Councillor Ken Edwards, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield Central, said, “The appointment of the Chair of the East Cheshire Caring Together Executive Board has become a matter of concern. Apparently the quality of leadership of the person appointed can be sensibly questioned. It is vital that the Chair of the new board’s record is above reproach in relation to protecting the quality of care for vulnerable people in Cheshire East.”