The inquiry into the handling of the Ian Paterson case has called for the establishment of a publicly-accessible single repository of consultants’ performances from across England and say this should be mandated for use by managers and healthcare professionals in both the NHS and independent sector.
In its report, published this week, the inquiry also recommends that the Government should reform the current regulation of medical indemnity products for healthcare professionals, as a matter of urgency. It cricises the Medical Defence Union for using “its discretion to avoid giving compensation to Paterson's patients once it was clear his malpractice was criminal”.
In the opening statement of the report, Chair of the Paterson Inquiry, the Rt Revd Graham James says the report unveils failures not just by Dr (MR) Paterson, but by the NHS and private healthcare systems, regulators and insurers.
This report “is not simply a story about a rogue surgeon,” the Chair writes. “It would be tragic enough if that was the case, given the thousands of people whom Ian Paterson treated. But it is far worse. It is the story of a healthcare system which proved itself dysfunctional at almost every level when it came to keeping patients safe, and where those who were the victims of Paterson’s malpractice were let down time and time again.
During the inquiry, regulators testified to major improvements which would identify another Paterson. However, clinicians believed that, despite the changes, it was entirely possible that something similar could happen now.
“The testimony of those on the front line is telling,” Rt Revd James commented.