The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) is calling for independent hospitals to collect and publish data on patient safety and clinical outcomes, equivalent to that which the NHS routinely provides. The College has published a position statement setting out the changes it believes are required to prevent a repeat of the harm caused by Ian Paterson.
The statement says that while progress is being made, more needs to be done to bring the independent hospitals sector reporting requirements in line with the NHS.
The RCS is also calling for more robust clinical governance procedures in the independent sector to monitor consultants’ practising privileges and scope of practice, and better sharing of information about consultants’ performance between the NHS and independent sectors.
The position is supported by the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN), the representative body for independent sector healthcare providers.
Professor Derek Alderson, President of the RCS, said the “surgical community was deeply shocked” by the case of Ian Paterson, who is now serving a 20-year prison sentence for 17 counts of wounding with intent.
“While the vast majority of doctors perform their work to a high standard with the utmost care for their patients, the case of Ian Paterson highlights the need for an urgent review of how we assure safety standards in the independent sector,” he said.
“There is no doubt that Ian Paterson was a rogue individual. That said, the entire healthcare sector must do more to prevent someone like him from ever causing harm again. This starts with being able to collect and analyse good quality patient safety and outcomes data. There must be stronger oversight and protection for patients, regardless of whether they have their operation in an NHS hospital or in the independent sector,” Professor Alderson said.