Head of CQC has been forced to apologise to CQC board member, after she publicly made extremely personal comments regarding her mental health.
Dame Jo Williams, who retired as CQC chair last week, yesterday withdrew allegations that she made to the commons health committee regarding Kay Sheldon's mental health. It is claimed that these were made to discredit her as a whistleblower.
Sheldon has spoken out with highly critical evidence about the CQC's leadership to a public inquiry, to which Williams requested her to be removed from the CQC board due to mistrust:
There are processes and procedures that we have within the CQC that she did not choose to use. She could have gone to the secretary of state of a minister to express her concerns.
When giving evidence to the health committee, Williams said she felt a “duty of care” towards Sheldon. She claimed the whistleblower had been found in a toilet “distressed, not recognising her own name” and “completely wet through” after walking out of a board meeting last year. Also that Sheldon believed “everyone is talking about her” when she walked down the street.
Labour MP Valerie Vaz has complained about these personal comments, saying that it is unfair with Sheldon being unable to respond, and so the CQC chair has had to apologise for making these comments public, and has withdrawn the claims she has made.
Kay Sheldon says that a distorted version of these events has been portrayed and her GP and the in-house occupational health nurse have not expressed any concerns about her mental health. Despite calls for her to leave the board following her complaints, she says she will remain there:
I was appointed to the CQC board particularly to bring the perspective of people who use health and social care as well as my expertise in mental health. My experiences within CQC over the past year have been reminiscent of the time I was trapped in a service providing poor care – disregarded and stigmatised.
It is wholly unacceptable that a body, particularly one charged with protecting people in vulnerable situations, has behaved in this way