HOSPITAL inspectors spent over £50,000 on accommodation while inspecting Lancashire Care Foundation Trust, it has been revealed.

New figures show that the the Care Quality Commission (CQC) spent four times its annual budget on hotels, travel and meals, an investigation has found.

Teams from the CQC spent £4.4 million on travel and subsistence in 2014/15 against a budget of £1.1 million.

The CQC said the overspend was due to the fact the budget was based on a previous, lighter touch inspection regime. The figures, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the Health Service Journal show that up to £80,000 was spent on accommodation during a single inspection.

In some cases, more than 100 inspectors attended one visit. In total, £921,279.98 was spent on hotels in 2014/15 for 36 inspections. The biggest spending was for Dorset Healthcare University Foundation Trust, where 118 inspectors were accommodated at two hotels over five days for £80,837.

The most expensive on a per-night basis was for the Imperial College inspection, where the CQC spent £239 a night accommodating inspectors at the four-star Thistle Kensington Gardens hotel.

A statement from the CQC said: “As CQC regulates health and adult social care services across England, it is necessary for its inspection teams to have to travel and, on occasion, to stay in overnight accommodation. CQC’s ‘new style’ inspections involve larger teams, including specialist inspectors, experts in the field, and members of the public, who represent the views of people who use services. They last longer so that more time can be spent in observing the care that is being delivered.”