College lays out its plan to avoid another ‘Paterson’

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.