The Royal College of Surgeons’ drive to improve private practice safety centres on more sharing of data and having a single repository for a doctor’s record of practice.
It calls for:
Streamlined clinical governance procedures to enable consistently effective monitoring of practising privileges. Medical Advisory Committees should have a clearer remit so they can better advise on patient safety standards;
All new surgical procedures/devices used in either sector to be registered, with data collected in national audits before a routine offering to patients. There could be national guidelines on introducing new procedures and technologies;
A single repository about a consultant’s practising privileges, indemnity cover, practice scope, identity of Responsible Officer and appraisal status, accessible to all hospitals where they work, enabling prompt action to performance concerns.
Independent multidisciplinary team-working to be reviewed to ensure it includes arrangements for information sharing between sectors.
Appropriate service-level agreements be set up between private hospitals and NHS trusts for critical care support, plus robust on-call emergency cover arrangements for surgeons/anaesthetists in private units if patients have post-operative complications.
The Independent Doctors Federation welcomed the RCS’s proposals and said long before the Paterson case that it had worked with the Private Healthcare Information Network and the Care Quality Commission to promote best care.
It recently met with the Independent Healthcare Provider Network and London private hospital medical directors and chief executives to ensure PHIN’s requirements were met and there were ‘robust mechanisms’ to prevent any similar case happening.