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No further action in cover-up probe
A media manager of a health regulator was not involved in an alleged cover-up and has "no case to answer", her bosses said tonight.
Anna Jefferson had been named as one of three senior officials at the Care Quality Commission who were suggested to have backed the suppression of a damning internal review which highlighted its failure to investigate a spate of baby deaths at Furness General Hospital in Cumbria.
An independent report conducted by management consultants Grant Thornton concluded there was ''persuasive evidence'' that senior officials ordered the internal review to be deleted.
It was implied the CQC's former chief executive Cynthia Bower, her deputy Jill Finney and current head of media Ms Jefferson, who was a media manager at the time, were involved in the alleged cover-up.
But a subsequent internal investigation has now cleared Ms Jefferson of any wrongdoing, said the CQC.
In a statement, the CQC said: "The statements relating to Anna Jefferson have now been investigated by CQC in line with its disciplinary procedure and the conclusion of the investigation is that there is 'no case for Anna Jefferson to answer' and consequently no disciplinary action will be taken.
"The internal investigation was not a review of Grant Thornton's report, although it was one source of information.
In summary, the investigation concluded, based upon the information reviewed, that Anna Jefferson had not used "any inappropriate phrases" as attributed to her by one witness quoted in the Grant Thornton report; and Anna Jefferson had not supported any instruction to delete an internal report prepared by a colleague - Louise Dineley.
"The CQC regrets any distress Anna Jefferson has suffered as a consequence of this matter and is pleased to welcome Anna back to the organisation following a period of maternity leave. She is currently undertaking a course of postgraduate study with CQC's support."