CQC apologises to the Wellington after ratings mistake

By Robin Stride

The Wellington Hospital

A leading London hospital’s celebration for achieving an ‘Outstanding’ overall rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) was cut short earlier today after the watchdog confessed it had made an extraordinary mistake.

Doctors, healthcare staff and managers at HCA Healthcare UK’s flagship The Wellington Hospital were left stunned to find their recent inspection had, in fact, left it one rung below the top accolade – giving them a ‘Good’. 

Antoinette Smith, CQC deputy director of operations in London, had earlier praised the hospital for providing a depth and breadth of care across diagnostics, outpatients, specialist care and surgery as an ‘exemplar of best practice which others can, and should, learn from’.

She said in an official statement: ‘I’m delighted to say that The Wellington Hospital has been awarded CQC’s highest rating of outstanding overall after our recent inspection.’

Four days later, the hospital’s jubilant chief executive Eric Reichle gave his reaction, saying: ‘We are incredibly proud to be rated “Outstanding” by the CQC. It is a tremendous achievement and great recognition of the phenomenal care provided by our team day in and day out to support our patients and enable outstanding patient care.

‘Alongside the expertise and breadth of care that we offer, that our teams were recognised for their dedication to providing compassionate and individual care is a reflection of our truly high-quality patient-centred approach. 

‘It is testament to the dedication and teamwork of everyone involved and recognises our hospital mission, that above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life.’

Made an error

But nearly three hours later hospital sources revealed they had been informed the CQC had made an error. 

A spokesperson said while The Wellington was ‘disappointed’ to find it had only achieved a ‘Good’,  it was pleased its surgical care and services had been recognised as ‘Outstanding’. 

With no CQC statement confirming the hospital’s grade, Independent Practitioner Today then asked it for an explanation about its inadequate reporting of its inspection.

A spokesperson later responded: ‘CQC issued a press release last week, which incorrectly stated that Wellington Hospital run by HCA International Limited, was rated as outstanding. 

‘It should have stated that their surgical services had been rated as outstanding. We’ve apologised to the team at HCA, and we’ll be looking to see whether there’s any lessons we can learn to avoid this from happening again in future.’

The Wellington declined to make further comment.

Has anything like The Wellington’s experience ever happened to you? Email robin@ip-today.co.uk.