Consultant breast surgeon Ian Paterson is serving 20 years in prison following convictions for unlawful wounding/wounding patients with intent. Over many years he carried out extensive breast surgery in both the NHS and private sectors for ‘no justifiable reason.’ The Inquiry report has been delayed from summer 2019 due to the sheer number of potential victims coming forward. The Inquiry was given a wide remit including communication, referral paths between the NHS and independent sectors, data sharing, multi-disciplinary working, performance management, response to adverse incidents, clinical recall and sector differences in indemnity. All of this will have wide ranging impact on independent health providers and the interface with the NHS.

For those keen to see what the report might contain the Medical Practitioners Assurance Framework published at the end of last year provides a taster. Governance around doctors’ status in the independent sector is at its core. Themes include: management of practising privileges; systems to identify and act on concerns about medical practitioners (including sharing with the NHS); governance around the introduction of new procedures and techniques. The Framework identifies ‘3 lines of defence’—frontline professionals, boards/senior leaders and regulators and other external bodies. Independent sector providers will need to ensure a robust ‘ward to board’ governance structure is in place. This will inevitably involve a comprehensive review of all policies and procedures with particular focus on clinicians’ roles and responsibilities, the practising privilege process (including review), assessment of clinician competence and compliance with provider policies, whistleblowing/freedom to speak up and communication with the NHS and external agencies (e.g. the National Reporting and Learning System).

Medical Malpractice Forward View 2020

This article is part of Capsticks’ Medical Malpractice Forward View 2020. Read the other articles featured in this publication below:

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