The chairman of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has been unveiled today as the new chairman of the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

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David Prior, who has been chairman of the hospital trust, which includes the N&N and Cromer and District Hospital, for just over 10 years, will take over as chairman of the health watchdog next year.

Mr Prior said: “I am delighted to have been appointed chairman of the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It is the only job that could have persuaded me to leave the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

“People who are ill or not able to live independently should be able to expect high quality care. Where there is benign or, worse, malign neglect there must be zero tolerance.

“I am a believer in the NHS but not a reflex defender of the NHS. Those who provide care out of hospital, in care homes or in people’s own homes, should also be held to account where standards are not good enough.

“CQC must be an intelligent, risk driven, consistent and transparent regulator of care standards. It will be driven by common sense and judgement not box ticking and form filling.

“It will be concerned both with the quality of hands on clinical practice and with the culture, governance, openness and sustainability of the organisations that provide care.

“The organisations that CQC regulate must demonstrate that the systemic failure of care that occurred at Stafford Hospital and Winterbourne View does not, will not and could not happen here. “The ultimate test for all those involved directly or indirectly in delivering care is: ‘would I be happy for myself or my loved ones to be cared for here?’

“Finally, for effective regulation there must be crystal clear organisational clarity. We can afford no grey areas.

“The combination of financial austerity with the growing frailty of an ageing population makes the role of CQC really important. We must continuously improve care standards; there is no place for complacency. I am looking forward to it.”

David Behan, CQC chief executive, said: “I am looking forward to working closely with David Prior to ensure the CQC’s success in driving improvement across social care and health.

“The next phase of the CQC’s development is vital to delivering success in protecting and promoting the health, safety and welfare of people who use health and care services.

“Guided by the findings from our strategic review, David Prior will play a pivotal role in chairing the board and working with stakeholders.

“David’s experience within the NHS, as chairman of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Foundation Trust, as well as his wider governance and industry experience will prove vital in meeting the important regulatory challenges ahead.

“I would like to thank Dame Jo Williams for all her hard work over the last few years in getting CQC to this important point in its development.”

David Prior will take up his role as CQC chairman on January 28, 2013.

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