A senior board member at the health and social care watchdog has warned that despite a series of damning reports the regulator is still failing to protect patients from poor treatment in hospitals and care homes.
Kay Sheldon, a psychiatrist and a non-executive director and at the Care Quality Commission spoke to the Daily Telegraph warning that the regulator is still failing to protect patients in care homes and hospitals.
She said: "There are risks to patients because the CQC is not doing its job. There are things happening in care homes and hospitals that are not being picked up.
"The CQC is saying that things have improved but I am not convinced that is real."
She said changes in the pipelines to the inspection system will not improve matters or safeguard patients.
"It will unravel and we need to say stop now, and get some proper leadership in.
"The culture is oppressive and there have been allegations of bullying that have not been investigated. The organisation is in crisis mode and is still concerned with its own reputation."
She said inspectors had failed to detect risks to patients at Furness General Hospital, in Barrow, where seven babies died and only took the issues seriously after the coroner intervened.
Joshua Titcombe died in October 2008, nine days after he was born when midwives failed to diagnose and treat a serious infection.
Five other babies died in 2008, one on Christmas Day in 2010 and one in April 2011. However the CQC had found the unit was compliant with standards in July 2010.
The CQC launched an investigation after the inquest into Joshua's death but only found six areas of concern, none of which were followed up, Ms Sheldon said.
In December last year the foundation trust regulator, Monitor, found 119 problems at the trust, 66 of them marked as 'red' being the most serious.
Ms Sheldon said she raised concerns about the quality of the CQC inspections and the lack of action taken with the CQC board but was told it had been a 'robust' piece of work.
Even when she told the Department of Health of the lack of action at the CQC she was told it had to be dealt with internally by the CQC.
Ms Sheldon, who was awarded an OBE last year for her services to healthcare, She said: "I am concerned that many of the problems persist.
"I am concerned that we are not an effective regulator of health and social care.
"For example, I have serious concerns about how effective the CQC was in identifying and acting on concerns at Morecombe Bay hospital trust in the maternity services and in A&E at Lancaster.
"The inspectors are not specialists in their areas and have heavy workloads so even when they did identify risks to patients those were not followed up on by the CQC.
"It is only when Monitor and the coroner identified the same and more serious problems that the CQC began to take the issue seriously.
"I raised my concerns with the chief executive and the director of operations at the CQC but they did not reply.
"As requested, I then emailed the Department of Health with my concerns and they said the issue should be dealt with within the CQC."