The government has committed “in principle” to creating a public repository of consultants’ practice details that sets out their practising privileges and key performance data, including how many times they have performed a particular procedure and how recently.
The commitment was part of the response to an independent national inquiry, launched in 2017, following the malpractice of rogue surgeon Ian Paterson. Now serving a 20 year prison sentence, Paterson had undertaken numerous unnecessary breast operations in both private and NHS practice, causing harm to hundreds of patients.
The inquiry, published February 2020, found that Paterson was able to harm patients over more than decade because of the “dysfunctional” healthcare system. It outlined 17 recommendations for the government to respond to, mainly focusing on improving oversight and governance, as well as ensuring greater scrutiny of private providers.
At the time, some saw the report as a missed opportunity to tackle the systemic patient safety risks of the private hospital business model, such as financial incentives which can lead to overtreatment.
Source: BMJ, 17 December 2021
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