Tougher vetting for private consultants

By Robin Stride

Consultants face a practising privileges shake-up under private hospital plans to strengthen clinical governance and bring a more standardised approach to working arrangements.

An Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN) initiative starting in England also envisages more proactive and two-way information sharing between private providers and the NHS via Responsible Officers (ROs). 

The Medical Practitioners Assur­ance Framework (MPAF) forms part of the sector’s response to the Bishop of Norwich’s inquiry due soon into issues around the rogue surgeon Ian Paterson case.

Principles in the document, which sets out 23 ‘responsibilities’ for practitioners, reinforce expected practice in key areas. These include clinical governance structures, patient safety, clinical quality, continuous improvement, whole practice appraisal and raising and responding to staff and patients’ concerns.

Former NHS England national medical director Sir Bruce Keogh, who headed the work, said  the vast majority of independent care was of high quality and was underpinned by robust safety and medical governance processes.

But more could and should be done to ensure clinicians and independent providers worked together to perform to the highest possible standards.