NHS reforms

20.12.18

Keogh to lead new independent hospital oversight framework in wake of Ian Paterson case

The former national medical director for NHS England, Sir Bruce Keogh, is to lead the development of a new framework on the oversight of consultants in independent hospitals.

The framework – part of the NHS’s response to the Bishop of Norwich’s inquiry into the issues around the case of disgraced surgeon Ian Paterson – will be developed in consultation with hospital providers, consultant representatives, regulators, royal colleges and the NHS.

The Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN) confirmed that Keogh would develop the Consultant Oversight Framework after the CQC identified several areas where governance systems could be strengthened by operators, including added oversight of consultants.

Last year, breast surgeon Paterson was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being found guilty of 17 counts of wounding patents with intent after he performed unnecessary, life-changing operations.

A national inquiry was launched into the surgeon’s malpractice and the scope of the investigation was extended to include independent hospitals, as Paterson had practicing privileges at two hospitals in the independent sector.

Keogh, who led a review of death rates at 14 NHS trusts and saw 11 of them placed into special measures, said the framework was important given that independent hospitals treat over 1.6 million people every year.

“While the majority of care in independent hospitals is of high quality and underpinned by robust safety and clinical governance processes, more can and should be done to ensure consultants working in all independent hospitals are performing to the highest possible standards,” he commented.

“The development of a Consultant Oversight Framework will help foster a more standardised approach to clinical governance in the sector, including better collaboration and information exchange between private and NHS hospitals.”

Key areas that the framework – which will be published in spring 2019 – will address is the governance of medical practitioners, obtaining patient consent, information flow between NHS and the independent sector, and practising privileges.

David Hare, chief executive of IHPN, said: “We are thrilled that Sir Bruce Keogh has agreed to lead the development of a Consultant Oversight Framework for independent hospitals.

“With over a decade’s experience as the NHS’ national medical director Sir Bruce is the ideal candidate to help improve the consistency of clinical governance processes in independent acute hospitals and to push up standards of care yet further across the sector.

“While the CQC made clear in their report on independent acute hospitals earlier this year that the overwhelming majority of care delivered in the sector is either good or outstanding, inconsistent clinical governance processes were identified as an area of concern.”

Image credit - Joe Giddens - PA Archive

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