Clarity on sponsor deals

By Olive Carterton

Calls for greater transparency about doctors’ interests, partic­ularly payments from the pharma­ceutical and medical device industry, are being backed by ministers and private healthcare operators. 

In a long-awaited response to last year’s Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, the Government has rejected a recommendation for the GMC’s register to be expanded to include a list of financial and non-pecuniary interests for all doctors.

But it does want the publication of interests to be held by local healthcare providers.

This includes making it a regulatory requirement that doctors and all other healthcare professionals declare their relevant interests to their employer/organisation where they are providing services.

Writing in Independent Pract­itioner Today’s digital page-turn issue, and the feature section of this website this month, the boss of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN) says the information would be publicly available for patients to see. 

Chief executive David Hare warns these changes will also cover independent providers and his trade body will work with the Department of Health and Social Care ‘to ensure there is appropriate implementation, governance and enforcement of this approach’.

He said later: ‘Increasing transparency around healthcare professionals’ financial and non-pecuniary interests is a key way of ensuring the highest possible patient confidence in the care they receive and we welcome the Government’s commitment to strengthening oversight in this area across both NHS and independent healthcare provision.’

The IHPN believes rapid growth in implantable medical devices makes it vital for a more joined up approach to recording and regulating their use to keep patients safe.

Important implications for private doctors – see David Hare’s ‘Devices are to be better monitored