This article is published as part of Capsticks’ Medical Malpractice Forward View 2022.

Safety of two medicines (Primodos and Sodium Valproate) and one device (pelvic mesh) was at the heart of 'First Do No Harm', the report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review. Creation of a new role of Patient Safety Commissioner (PSC) was a central plank of the Review Committee’s desire to strengthen both the voice and influence of patients in patient safety. Scoping of the role has been completed and the job advertised, with interviews taking place on 23 March 2022. The PSC will have statutory powers to make report/recommendations to the Secretary of State and any relevant person/organisation, and to request information.

A trial date is awaited for the High Court group litigation by Claimants who are suing the manufacturer Johnson and Johnson, alleging injury from trans-vaginal mesh. They are likely to have been buoyed by the 2021 decision of the Australian Federal Court to dismiss the Defendant’s appeal against a finding of liability.

What the new PSC means for you: Although the PSC will not be under a statutory duty (unlike a Coroner considering Prevention of Future Death), the PSC’s power is likely to highlight patient safety issues to a wider audience and further enable learning from error to prevent harm. There is also scope for reputational damage. Healthcare organisations should be ready to respond to requests from the PSC with as much care as they give to their responses to PFD reports.

Medical Malpractice Forward View 2022 

This article is part of Capsticks’ Medical Malpractice Forward View 2022

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