The Care Quality Commission has announced that its chief inspector of hospitals Ted Baker is retiring next March, after almost five years in the job.

Baker took over as chief inspector in July 2017, stepping up from his role as deputy chief inspector to complete the full roll out of the CQC’s comprehensive inspection programme across NHS trusts and independent hospital services.

The CQC stated that during his time as chief inspector Baker developed and strengthened the way it regulates hospital services and led work to drive greater collaboration between services and across local systems to improve care.

It added that he has championed the importance of patient safety, leading CQC’s thematic review work on learning from safety events and has overseen the development of its approach to regulation of the hospitals sector, including the introduction of targeted and intelligence-driven focused inspections for services such as urgent and emergency care, NHS maternity services, mental health services and independent health. It concluded that under his leadership the CQC has been able to identify problems earlier and act more quickly to drive improvement.

Baker said: “Next year will be the fiftieth since I first worked for the NHS. I have been exceptionally lucky to have had such a long and varied career and to have worked with so many outstanding and inspiring people, not least during my last eight years here at the CQC. I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to everyone who has inspired, supported and encouraged me over the years.

“Our regulation of hospitals has undergone considerable change over the past five years with a strengthened focus on leadership and culture and more emphasis on system working, assessing how services are working together to ensure patients receive truly integrated care. At the same time our regulation has encouraged an increasing number of services to take a transformational approach towards patient safety.

“That work is the result of the collective commitment of my colleagues here at the CQC together with many partners across the system. The much closer partnership working between the CQC and other regulators, providers and patients has been central to the progress we have made.

“Finally, I would like to pay tribute to my colleagues across the whole health and care system who have risen to the formidable challenges the pandemic has brought with commitment, determination and compassion. If they can hold fast to those qualities as they go forward, I am confident that they will be able to meet the challenges ahead. I will remain in post until March of next year – and in that time I will continue to be focused on driving further improvements in safety, ensuring that the voices of patients and frontline staff are heard.”

The CQC’s chief executive, Ian Trenholm, commented: “I am incredibly grateful to Ted for his commitment, vision and leadership and for the expertise he has brought to CQC as chief inspector. I have enjoyed working with Ted enormously and shall miss him both on a personal and professional basis.

“One of his greatest strengths is his commitment to engagement with and improvement for patients and staff which has rightly earned him significant respect and loyalty from colleagues at CQC, and across the NHS. He will leave CQC next year having played a vital role in strengthening our regulation and I am extremely grateful for what he has helped us to achieve.”

Prior to joining CQC Baker worked at every level of the health system, including 35 years in front line clinical practice. He also held a number of senior academic appointments in the UK and abroad and a series of senior executive roles in the NHS.

Date published: September 15, 2021

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