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Found 32 results
  1. News Article
    BBC News investigation has uncovered failures in the diagnosis of serious medical issues during private baby scans. More than 200 studios across the UK now sell ultrasound scans, with hundreds of thousands being carried out each year. But the BBC has found evidence of women not being told about serious conditions and abnormalities. The Care Quality Commission says there is good quality care in the industry but it has a "growing concern". Private baby scanning studios offer a variety of services. Some diagnose medical issues while others market themselves as providers of souvenir images or video of the ultrasound. Most sell packages providing a "reassurance scan" to expectant mums. Many women BBC News spoke to said they had positive experiences at private studios, but we have also learned of instances where women said they were failed. Charlotte, from Manchester, attended a scan in Salford with one of the biggest franchises, Window to the Womb, to record her baby's sex for a party and check its wellbeing. BBC News has learned the sonographer identified a serious abnormality that meant the baby could not survive, where part or all of its head is missing, called anencephaly. But rather than refer her immediately to hospital and provide a medical report, Charlotte was told the baby's head could not be fully seen and recommended to book an NHS anomaly scan. She was also given a gender reveal cannon and a teddy bear containing a recording of its heartbeat as a present for her daughter. "I was distraught," Charlotte said. "You've bonded with that baby." "It's like a deep cut feeling," she added. "All of it could have just been avoided, we could have processed the news all together as a family because I was with my mum and dad, I would have had the support there." Read full story Source: BBC News, 18 November 2020
  2. Content Article
    Problems related to the care home and the company were known well before the Panorama expose in 2016. When the Panorama programme was aired it resulted in immediate closure of one home and all the homes which were operated by Morleigh being transferred to new operators. The Review includes reports of abuse against residents; residents being left to lie in wet urine-soaked bedsheets; concerns from relatives about their loved ones being neglected; reports of there being insufficient food for residents, no hot water and no heating; claims that dozens of residents were sharing one bathroom. Here's a summary of the report's findings: More than 100 residents had concerns raised more than once. More than 200 safeguarding alerts were made for individuals but only 16 went through to an individual adult safeguarding conference. More than 80 whistleblower or similar reports were made concerning issues that put residents at risk. 44 inspections were undertaken at Morleigh Group homes in the three-year period, the vast majority identifying breaches. There was a period of at least 12 months when four of the homes had no registered manager in place. During the three-year period reviewed the police received 130 reports relating to the care homes. A spokesperson for Cornwall Council said: “We have different procedures and policies in place and have invested time, money and staffing into making sure that we can respond better when concerns are raised.'' “One of the problems was that all the partners had their own policies and procedures but they weren’t integrated. That is probably one of the key issues that we have now addressed.” “The assessment is so different now and the organisations are working much more closely that it reduces the risk dramatically.'' This is an important and long-awaited review. This situation echoes other care home scandals across the UK. I urge everyone to read the full report and reflect on the real root causes of the problem, which I believe go well beyond failings in inter-agency policies and communication. What would your action plan be? How would you monitor it?
  3. Content Article
    The review looked back over the period from 2013 to 2016 and catalogues a number of failings and missed opportunities to address the situation. Among its findings are: More than 100 residents had concerns raised more than once. More than 200 safeguarding alerts were made for individuals but only 16 went through to an individual adult safeguarding conference. More than 80 whistleblower or similar reports were made concerning issues that put residents at risk. 44 inspections were undertaken at Morleigh Group homes in the three-year period, the vast majority identifying breaches. There was a period of at least 12 months when four of the homes had no registered manager in place. During the three-year period reviewed the police received 130 reports relating to the care homes. In total there are 15 recommendations made by the review which have been accepted by Cornwall Council and the Safeguarding Adults Board. These include changes to contract management for the provision of care services so that they link with safeguarding and inspections. On whistleblowing the review says there needs to be a clear whistleblowing process for all staff, residents, families and professionals to follow and to ensure that information is shared across all agencies. Other recommendations include better enforcement to ensure action is taken when breaches are identified. And it calls for a “front door” for all alerts made about care providers so that there is no confusion about who should take responsibility to deal with concerns.
  4. News Article
    A privately run child and adolescent mental health unit has been closed permanently, with its residents moved elsewhere, after concerns were raised about their safety. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said it had taken “urgent action to ensure the provider makes immediate and significant improvements” at the Cygnet Hospital in Godden Green, outside Sevenoaks in Kent, after a series of unannounced inspections last month and this month. The hospital had a CAMHs unit with up to 23 beds – details of which have been removed from the company’s website. However, only a small number of beds were occupied and these patients were either discharged or transferred to other hospitals before the unit closed on Monday. Last year Cygnet Health Care also launched a 12 bed female psychiatric intensive care unit on the site. Some of these beds have been commissioned by Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust since early this year, as there are no NHS female PICU sites in the county. This unit remains open, although the CQC said the concerns raised with it related to the safety of both PICU and CAMHs patients. Karen Bennett-Wilson, the CQC’s head of hospital inspection and lead for mental health in the south, said: “CQC has also worked closely with NHSE/I, Cygnet Healthcare and other local partners who have taken the decision to close the CAMHS unit and move the young people in the service to other care appropriate to their needs." Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 20 October 2020
  5. News Article
    Concerns are growing that long NHS waiting times caused by the coronavirus crisis are exacerbating pre-existing health inequalities and creating a “two-tier” system, as more people turn to the private sector for quicker treatment. As leading doctors warn mass cancellations of NHS operations in England are inevitable this winter after waiting times reached the highest levels on record this summer, data shows a rise in the number of people self-funding treatment or investing in private health insurance. “COVID-19 has not impacted everyone equally, and there is clearly a risk that the backlog in routine hospital treatment is going to add to those inequalities if some people are able to get treatment faster because they’re able to pay,” said Tim Gardner, from the Health Foundation thinktank. As the NHS heads into winter and a growing second wave of the virus, experts stressed the need to help those affected by the backlog now. “There is a need to prioritise the most urgent cases, but simply because someone’s case isn’t urgent doesn’t mean it’s not important. It doesn’t mean that people aren’t waiting in pain and discomfort, or waiting anxiously for a diagnosis,” said Gardner. “We think it’s incumbent on the health service to make the best possible use of the capacity it’s got. But also it needs to make sure it’s supporting people while they’re waiting. We just can’t have people left in limbo.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 27 October 2020
  6. News Article
    The care model run by independent sector mental health and learning disability hospitals is ‘inherently risky’, a Care Quality Commission (CQC) chief inspector has warned. Speaking at the NHS Providers conference, Ted Baker, chief inspector of hospitals for the Care Quality Commission, unveiled the regulator’s plans to change how it inspects health and care services. When asked by HSJ how its new “streamlined” approach would be applied to inpatient units run by the independent sector for people with mental health and learning disability, Professor Baker said: ”One of the things we’ve been doing during the pandemic, and will continue in our transitional approach, is target risk. And one of the risks we have been targeting is exactly this, patients with learning disability and/or autism in some of these small units that have got closed cultures." “I think we do recognise that model of care is an inherently risky model of care and so we have been inspecting many of those under this risk driven model and taking action against many of them. But there is ongoing concern about that model of care and in a few weeks’ time we will be publishing a report on our assessment of that model of care and the importance of it being changed for the benefit of the people being looked after. The model of care needs to be improved but we need to make sure we are tackling the risk.” The chief’s comments come ahead of the regulator’s state of care report, which is due to be published next week. In its report published last year the CQC highlighted a concern regarding the quality and safety of independent learning disability and autism units. In particular it warned these were at a higher risk of developing closed cultures. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 7 October 2020)
  7. News Article
    At least 18 serious cases are being investigated by NHS bosses after GP and dermatology services were stripped from private medical company. The Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) confirmed on Monday an independent review was taking place. It will see if delays to treatment for thousands of patients using DMC Healthcare services "caused harm". The NHS removed contracts worth £4.1m a year from the private firm in July. DMC was responsible for nearly 60,000 patients at nine surgeries in Medway, and skin condition services in other parts of Kent, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said. In north Kent, there were 1,855 patients needing urgent treatment and a further 7,500 on the dermatology service waiting list. Of those, 700 had been waiting more than a year. Nikki Teesdale, from Kent and Medway's CCG, said it was "too early" to reach definitive conclusions around the 18 serious cases. Speaking to Kent and Medway's joint health scrutiny committee on Monday she said of the 18, five had been waiting "significant periods of time" for cancer services. "Until we have got those patients through those treatment programmes, we are not able to determine what the level of harm has been," she added. Read full story Source: BBC News, 29 September 2020
  8. News Article
    A UK oncologist with a world reputation is facing allegations by the General Medical Council that he provided medication inappropriately in an attempt to keep terminally ill patients alive. Justin Stebbing, professor of cancer medicine and oncology at Imperial College London, who has a private practice in Harley Street, faces allegations at a medical practitioners tribunal of failing to provide good clinical care to 11 patients between March 2014 and March 2017. Read full story (paywalled) Source: BMJ, 15 September 2020
  9. News Article
    There were 21 “wholly preventable” patient safety incidents of the most serious category at private hospitals last year, new data has shown, as NHS bosses prepare to invest up to £10bn in the sector. This is the first time that a comprehensive dataset of 'never events’ within private hospitals has been published in the UK, and comes ahead of plans to outsource both inpatient and outpatient services, routine surgery operations and cancer treatment to private providers. The audit conducted by the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN), established in 2014 to bring greater transparency to the private health sector, showed that 287 out of 595 private hospitals and NHS private patient units (PPUs) provided information on Never Events between 1 January and 31 December 2019. This group accounts for an estimated 86 per cent of privately-funded admitted patient care, PHIN said. It attributed the “gaps in the data” to NHS PPUs, rather than independent hospitals. The fact that more than 300 hospitals or PPUs were unable or unwilling to hand over this data highlights the private sector’s continuing lack of transparency, said the Centre for Health and the Public Interest, a social care and health think tank. Read full story Source: The Independent, 2 September 2020 Private Healthcare Information Network press release
  10. News Article
    A cosmetic surgeon who did not have adequate insurance for operations that went wrong has been struck off. Dr Arnaldo Paganelli worked privately for The Hospital Group in Birmingham. The Medical Practitioners' Tribunal Service ruled his actions constituted misconduct. Four women took their case to the body and the tribunal heard evidence about his time at Birmingham's Dolan Park Hospital where he made regular trips from Italy to work. Lead campaigner Dawn Knight, from Stanley, County Durham, said too much skin was removed from her eyes during an eyelift in 2012 and they became "constantly sore". She told BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme she felt relieved Dr Paganelli "cannot injure anyone else on UK soil" and called for the government to tighten regulation around cosmetic procedures to protect the public. "The process has been long, emotional and exhausting. This situation must never be repeated. After all, when are you more vulnerable than when under aesthetic at the hands of a surgeon who has no insurance?" Read full story Source: BBC News, 12 August 2020
  11. Content Article
    The aims of ADAPt: To make it easier to monitor the quality and safety of services by including private healthcare data within healthcare reporting systems. To help staff keep accurate and complete records when a patient journey spans both private and public providers. To ensure transparency for patients by publishing comparable performance measures relating to quality of care and patient safety for both privately funded and NHS funded healthcare. To identify where the burden of data collection and reporting by NHS and private care providers can be reduced. Find out via the link below.
  12. Content Article
    The report also confirms that the NHS serves as a ‘safety net’ for the private sector with around 6,000 people a year transferred to NHS hospitals following treatment in private hospitals. Read the press release and coverage on BBC News, the Telegraph and Health Service Journal Read a blog on patient safety from Peter Walsh Sources of further information on patient safety private hospitals Read a blog from Colin Leys exploring the issues in the report.
  13. Content Article
    These inspections have identified some good individual practice. But they have also found some common areas of concerns. These include: staff without the appropriate training, qualifications and competencies to carry out their role unsafe practice in the use of sedation and anaesthetics poor monitoring and management of patients whose condition might deteriorate a lack of attention to fundamental safety processes variable standards of governance and risk management failure to ensure consent is obtained in a two-stage process, with an appropriate cooling off period between initial consultation and surgery infection prevention and control standards not always being followed concerns about equipment maintenance.
  14. News Article
    Babylon Health is investigating whether NHS patients were among those affected by a 'software error' that allowed people registered with its private GP service to view recordings of other people's consultations earlier this month. Babylon Health has confirmed that a small number of patients were able to view recordings of other patients' consultations earlier this week. The issue came to light after a patient in Leeds who had access to the Babylon app through a private health insurance plan with Bupa reported that he had been able to view around 50 consultations that were not his own. The patient told the BBC he was 'shocked' to discover the data breach. "You don't expect to see anything like that when you're using a trusted app," he said. "It's shocking to see such a monumental error has been made." Babylon told GPonline that the app used by private and NHS patients is the same, but it had yet to confirm whether the roughly 80,000 patients registered with the company's digital first NHS service GP at Hand were among those affected. The problem is understood to have cropped up when a new feature was introduced for patients who switched from audio to video mid-way through a consultation. Read full story Source: GPOnline, 10 June 2020
  15. News Article
    An independent inquiry is expected to call for major changes in the way private hospitals supervise doctors after hundreds of women were put through unnecessary operations by a rogue breast surgeon. Ian Paterson was jailed for 20 years in 2017 after being convicted of 13 counts of wounding with intent and three counts of unlawful wounding. But his surgical malpractice may have harmed more than 750 women over more than a decade. He carried out unnecessary surgery for breast cancer on women who did not have the disease, and put other women who did at risk by using his own unofficial technique, which left behind partial breast tissue. On Tuesday an inquiry chaired by the Bishop of Norwich, the Right Reverend Graham James, will be published and is expected to make recommendations about how doctors are allowed to work across both the NHS and private sector with minimal supervision and oversight. One key area of focus is expected to be a process known as “practising privileges”, where private hospitals allow clinicians to carry out their own activities within the hospital, similar to self-employed contractors. They effectively rent the hospital space for their work. Read full story Source: The Independent, 2 February 2020
  16. News Article
    Shipman, Mid Staffordshire, Morecambe Bay, and now Ian Paterson, the breast surgeon that performed botched and unnecessary operations on hundreds of women. The list of NHS-related scandals has got longer. It's tempting to say the health service has not learned lessons even after a string of revelations and reviews. But is that fair? asks BBC Health Editor Hugh Pym. The inquiry, chaired by Bishop Graham James, makes clear there were failings at every level of a dysfunctional health system when it came to patient safety. The public and private health systems did not compare notes about suspicious behaviour by a consultant. Staff working with Paterson thought that his surgical methods were unusual but, perhaps cowed by being ignored after raising concerns, kept their heads down. Add to that the power and status of a surgeon in the medical world and, in the words of the report, Paterson was "hiding in plain sight". So could it happen again? James says it's clearly impossible to eliminate the activities of determined criminals in any profession. He acknowledges that some improvements have been made on policing. But he says that a decade on from the Paterson scandal, he is not convinced that medical regulators, with a combined budget of half a billion pounds a year, are doing enough collectively or collaboratively to make the system safe for patients. The review chair notes tellingly that while regulators spoke of major improvements which should identify another Paterson, some doctors and nurses had told the inquiry that it was "entirely possible that something similar could happen now". Read full story Source: BBC News, 4 February 2020
  17. News Article
    With a focus on pharmaceutical supply chain regulation, Bonafi is one of the latest companies to launch within the regtech startup sector. “Companies operating in the global pharma industry must verify that those they are buying from and selling to are authorised to handle medicinal products for human use in their own countries,” explains its founder, Katarina Antill. “At present, this verification process is manual. Companies are using screenshots as proof and relying on spreadsheets to track verification activities, which increases the risk of errors.” “Manual processes are very labour intensive not least because companies must deal with multiple registries across multiple countries,” she says. “Most pharma manufacturers and wholesalers don’t have the resources to reverify their trading partners more than once a year, which is the current minimum legal requirement, and this too creates a potential vulnerability that can ultimately have an impact on patient safety and increase corporate risk. “I could see that this huge volume of manual work was a threat to patient-safety and extremely inefficient,” she adds. “Our solution gives companies much greater control over their compliance activities because they no longer have to rely on manual processes. It can also retrieve and aggregate data from multiple registers across multiple countries and has a constant monitoring and alert system, quality management dashboards, electronic signatures and workflows and will strengthen the attributes of traceability, transparency and security. It is all designed to help companies to be pro-active in their compliance activities, enabling them to go beyond compliance alone to reduce corporate risk and patient risk.” Read full story Source: The Irish Times, 13 February 2020
  18. News Article
    A doctor who worked at the same private healthcare firm as rogue breast surgeon Ian Paterson has been suspended, it has emerged. Spire Healthcare said Mike Walsh – a specialist in trauma and orthopaedic surgery – was suspended in April 2018 over concerns about patient treatment. Almost 50 of his patients from its Leeds hospital had been recalled. The details emerged following an independent inquiry into Paterson, who is serving a 20-year jail sentence. Earlier this month, an inquiry into the breast surgeon found that a culture of "avoidance and denial" had allowed him to perform botched and unnecessary operations on hundreds of women. Spire said in a statement that it acted after concerns were raised about Mr Walsh's work at its hospital in Leeds in 2018. The company, which contacted the Royal College of Surgeons to assist with its investigation, said it had reviewed the notes of fewer than 200 patients, of which "fewer than 50" had been invited back for a follow-up appointment. "Where we have identified concerns about the care a patient received, we have invited the patient to an appointment with an independent surgeon to review their treatment," a spokesman for Spire Healthcare said. "This is a complex case and the review is ongoing." It said that Mr Walsh, who was immediately suspended after the concerns were raised, was no longer working with Spire Healthcare. The company said any patients at its Spire Leeds Hospital who had concerns about their treatment under Mr Walsh should contact the hospital. It said its findings had also been shared with the Care Quality Commission and the General Medical Council (GMC). Read full story Source: BBC News, 17 February 2020
  19. News Article
    Proposals by the Scottish Government to give a licence to unregistered professionals to carry out cosmetic procedures are “fundamentally flawed” and put lives at risk, leading nurses in the field have warned. A consultation has been launched seeking views on plans for a new regulatory regime of non-surgical aesthetic treatments that pierce or penetrate the skin like dermal fillers or lip enhancements. Ministers want to bring non-health professionals under existing legislation allowing them to obtain a licence to perform these procedures in unregulated premises such as beauty salons and hairdressers. The move comes after a UK-wide review carried out in 2013, by then NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh, identified that little regulation existed within the cosmetic industry. Since then there has been growing concern that people are coming to physical and psychological harm from treatments gone wrong. Leaders at the British Association of Cosmetic Nurses (BACN) told Nursing Times that they were “totally opposed” to non-medical practitioners carrying out injectable beauty procedures. BACN Chair Sharon Bennett said holding a medical, nursing or dentistry qualification should be a “basic prerequisite” before being accepted to an aesthetics training course. SHe said BACN believed even clinically trained practitioners, including nurses, needed further training in aesthetics before working in this “specialist” area. “[This is] because there is no educational framework, training or statutory provision to establish or task beauty therapists to detect disease, care for patients or carry out medical treatment, so to do so would breach public health safety and endanger lives.” Read full story Source: The Nursing Times, 20 January 2020
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