RCS: Private hospitals should disclose ‘botched’ operation data

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The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) is calling for private hospitals to reveal details of ‘botched’ operations so that ‘rogue’ surgeons can be identified.

In a letter to the government, the RCS said private hospitals should be obliged to release data on serious injuries, unexpected deaths and serious preventable incidents, or so-called ‘never events’.

The call follows the scandal involving Birmingham-based surgeon Ian Paterson, who was convicted in April 2017 for performing unnecessary and dangerous breast operations on 10 patients.

The RCS say that while safety standards in the NHS have improved since Paterson’s suspension in 2012, private surgeons are not put under the same scrutiny.

The letter from the RCS calls for a national review of safety in the private sector, suggesting that the Paterson case proves ‘malicious behaviour’ can still take place. The review would aim to find out ‘why he was able to cause so much harm for so long and what can be done to minimize the risks of similar incidents in the future’.

Currently, data from private hospitals only has to be disclosed to the...