Care Quality Commission: Dr Sean O’Kelly

Sean O' Kelly CQC
Dr Sean O’ Kelly

The Care Quality Commission has appointed Dr Sean O’Kelly as the new chief inspector of hospitals, taking over in the spring replacing Ted Baker who is due to retire at the end of the month. In the interim, the CQC chief executive Ian Trenholm will assume day-to-day responsibility for the role.

O’Kelly is medical director and chief clinical information officer for NHS England and Improvement East of England, where he led NHS efforts to support the roll out of integrated care systems and promote quality improvement across the region.

O’Kelly previously held several clinical leadership positions across provider, commissioning and regulatory organisations in the US and the UK. Former roles include: associate clinical professor and director of paediatric cardiac anaesthesia at the University of Michigan; associate medical director at the Department of Health and Social Care; non-executive director at Somerset CCG, medical director at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust; medical director at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and medical director for professional leadership at NHS Improvement.

He was chair of the Department of Health and Social Care’s national steering group on cosmetic surgery regulation between 2005 and 2008 and has worked as a special adviser to the CQC, chairing a number of comprehensive inspections.

Trenholm said: “Sean brings with him a wealth of professional and clinical leadership experience and a sound understanding of the healthcare landscape in which we regulate. I know he shares our commitment to ensuring people have access to safe, high-quality and compassionate care and that his successful career in the NHS will make an important contribution to our work as we implement our new regulatory model and deliver on our strategy. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Ted for his tremendous contribution to CQC over the last eight years to develop and strengthen the way CQC regulates hospital services and support improvements in patient care.”

O’Kelly commented: “I’m thrilled to be taking on the role of chief inspector of hospitals and am looking forward to building on the great work that Ted has progressed helping providers to drive improvement and ensure that people receive consistently good, safe care. These are exceptionally challenging times and I’m committed to working with CQC colleagues, providers and other partners to support greater collaboration between services and across local systems as we strive to make our healthcare system as good as it can possibly be.”

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