Lack of transparency helped Ian Paterson to operate unchecked for years, according to inquiry
The recent report of the Paterson Inquiry identified multiple levels of dysfunction across England’s health system. These allowed surgeon Ian Paterson to practise unchecked for many years, causing serious harm to thousands of patients. Among the less surprising of the failings is the lack of transparency in reporting activity and outcomes by the private hospitals where he worked. As the report notes, transparency is no panacea, but it is essential for protecting patients from harm. This BMJ editorial argues that urgent action is now needed to improve reporting by independent sector providers to bring them in line with standards in the NHS.