Comment

04.06.19

Independent sector and NHS must meet the same standards of care

Source: NHE May/June 2019

Professor Derek Alderson, president of the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS), outlines how and why the independent sector must meet the same standards of care as the National Health Service.

Like so many of my colleagues, I was deeply shocked by the behaviour of breast surgeon Ian Paterson. He was a rogue surgeon who misled and abused the trust of patients. While the vast majority of doctors perform their work to a high standard with the utmost care for their patients in both the NHS and independent sector, the case of Ian Paterson highlights the need for an urgent review of how we assure safety standards in the independent sector. 

This is why the RCS has called for independent hospitals to collect and publish equivalent data to that which the NHS routinely provides. While progress has undoubtedly been made, there is still work to be done to create the regulatory alignment that is needed to bring independent sector hospitals’ reporting requirements in line with the NHS.

Although the independent sector is required to report data around unexpected deaths, never events and serious injuries directly to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the data is not routinely published by the CQC. This must change so that patients can be assured that the independent sector is meeting the same standards as the NHS.

There is also an issue in that the independent sector does not have a data set equivalent to Hospital Episode Statistics that detail how many and what procedures have happened in the NHS. Discussions are taking place between the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) and NHS Digital to allow independent sector data to be included in these statistics.

Clinical audits are a valuable tool to ensure healthcare is being provided in line with standards and to improve the quality of care. However, the independent sector has not been able to contribute to the majority of national clinical audits, including cancer audits, despite the fact that many independent providers regularly offer cancer treatments. The RCS has been working with the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) and the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN) to review which existing national audits the independent sector can contribute to, as well as the barriers that need to be overcome.

The National Joint Registry (NJR) is one example of an audit that the independent sector can already contribute to. The NJR is funded by subscriptions paid by NHS hospitals, private hospitals and clinics implanting prostheses, as well as by implant manufacturers. HQIP and IHPN plan to explore how the NJR works in the independent sector and pilot independent sector involvement in the cataract, breast cancer and possibly prostate cancer audits. 

We also need more robust clinical governance procedures in the independent sector to monitor consultants’ practising privileges and scope of practice, and to better share information about consultants’ performance between the NHS and independent sectors, particularly for the purposes of appraisal and revalidation.

A single dataset or repository about a consultant’s practising privileges, indemnity cover, scope of practice, the identity of their responsible officer and their appraisal status should be accessible to all independent and NHS hospitals where they work to enable prompt action in response to concerns about a doctor’s performance. 

From the work we have done over the last year, it is clear that the will to change how the independent sector collects and reports data is there. We must now push forward to ensure the required changes happen. 

We owe it to the victims of Ian Paterson, and patients that follow, to make sure the same high standards of care and governance apply regardless of where a patient is treated.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

NHS to benefit from £13.4bn debt write-off

03/04/2020NHS to benefit from £13.4bn debt write-off

In efforts to relieve some of the financial burden on NHS providers in light of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, Health Secretary Matt Hancock h... more >
Health Secretary outlines plans for 100k coronavirus tests a day

03/04/2020Health Secretary outlines plans for 100k coronavirus tests a day

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has outlined a new five-pillar plan detailing the national efforts to increase testing in England, with an aim to c... more >
Government announce £300m support for community pharmacies

03/04/2020Government announce £300m support for community pharmacies

Community pharmacies are set to receive a £300m cash boost from the government to ensure they can continue to carry out essential service d... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

Why social prescribing is the future of healthcare

01/04/2020Why social prescribing is the future of healthcare

Jennifer Jones-Rigby, COO at Health Exchange, a social enterprise seeking to shape the design and development of health and wellbeing services in a way that will enable everyone to have the capacity and confidence to choose positive health and wellbeing. The medical profession is often overstretched, with too many resources used for preventable conditions. As such, the national health service is under increased pressure t... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

interviews

Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual conference, Matt Hancock highlighted what he believes to be the three... more >
NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took steps towards her midwifery dreams. Lisa Payne has been delivering ... more >
How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us th... more > more last word articles >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital e... read more >

health service focus

NHS SBS: A 21st Century NHS

02/04/2020NHS SBS: A 21st Century NHS

Sean Hopkins, Head of Programmes and Technolo... more >
Efficient respirator fit testing and infection prevention

19/03/2020Efficient respirator fit testing and infection prevention

Sponsored Content: TSI explain about respirat... more >