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What does the Government’s response to the Paterson Inquiry mean for doctors working in independent sector? David Hare reports.

At the end of March, the Government published its long-awaited update on its response to the former Bishop of Norwich’s inquiry into jailed surgeon Ian Paterson. 

The Government’s statement focused on work around five of the inquiry’s recommendations, notably patient information, patient consent, multidisciplinary teams, patient recall and ongoing care. 

Its work on responding to the Paterson Inquiry is still ongoing, and a full response to the Bishop’s report is expected by the end of the year. But what does this interim update mean for independent healthcare providers and those working in the sector?

The Covid-19 pandemic has, of course, dominated the work of the healthcare system in the past year and it was welcome to see the Government acknowledge the ‘critical role that the independent sector has played in supporting the NHS’ over the last year. 

In this light, therefore, it made clear the importance of improving safety and governance across both the NHS and the independent sector and the need for any recommendations to be implemented across the entire healthcare landscape – an important principle we at the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN) have been advocating for some time. 

A key thread throughout the Rt Revd Graham James’s inquiry was the importance of all healthcare organisations directly providing clear and simple information to patients around all aspects of their care to give them full confidence in the quality of treatment they are receiving.