In the aftermath of last Wednesday's session of the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) and the testimony given by CQC Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals Paul Lelliot and Chief Executive Ian Trenholm, four members of the Restraint and Seclusion's Expert Advisory Group have resigned. The resignations came from Professor Chris Hatton, Dr Sara Ryan, Julie Newcombe co-founder of Rightfullives and Jeremy "Bethany's Dad", whose story on Radio 4's You and Yours programme had been instrumental in Secretary of State Matt Hancock's decision to commission the CQC led Restraint and Seclusion Review.
Lelliot and Trenholm's testimony, which seemed to focus more on protecting the CQC from blame than getting to the bottom of why the concerns of an earlier 2015 inspection had been ignored, has enraged many who observed it. In his resignation Chris Hatton tweeted:
Dear @CareQualityComm. I am currently a member of your Expert Advisory Group for your Review of the use of restraint and seclusion in services for people with learning disabilities or autistic people, and have tried to contribute in good faith to the best of my ability. I am aghast at how the @CareQualityComm has behaved concerning Whorlton Hall, & your performance at the @HumanRightsCtte this afternoon means that my further involvement is at best pointless and at worst lending the CQC false legitimacy. Please consider this my resignation.
To which Dr Sara Ryan added:
"And mine please. That was an exemplar in blame shifting, response ducking and little thought of patients harmed. A chilling and shameful absence of integrity."
Julie Newcombe's resignation referenced the fact that the CQC pretty much admitted that their reports are influenced by providers. This is from a JCHR tweet, quoting the CQC:
"There are limits to what we can do & it is worth remembering that we have 4 challenges a week from providers to our ratings... hence for us there is no point in getting into a position where our ratings are challenged and so we have a complex quality assurance process".
But perhaps the most damning resignation statement came from Jeremy "Bethany's Dad" who said:
It was my daughters case and my meeting with @MattHancock that prompted the Review. Honesty, Trust and Integrity are massively important to me. I said I felt dirtied over the way you released the interim report. To hear your lame excuses and your pathetic reasoning over the Whorton Hall scandal sickened me. You released interim recommendations without the Expert Advisory Group discussing them I wont be part of another cover up. I don't want my name or Bethany's linked to your abuse. Consider this my resignation. I want nothing more to do with it.
As he is Bethany’s dad and it was her case that promoted the review, his resignation and those of Chris, Sara and Julie are yet another blow to the credibility of the CQC Restraint and Seclusion Review, which had come in for a wave of criticism after the publication of review's interim report, blogs published by Dr Lelliot and the announcement that Dr Lelliot the review's lead would be retiring before the review has completed its work.