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Found 25 results
  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. Content Article
    Six months ago, I left my band 7 managerial role to work as a band 5 agency nurse on the wards. Despite the band drop, this move has financial advantages which will help me to achieve some personal goals. Signing up After successfully completing the recruitment process, I am asked to attend mandatory training. This includes basic life support, manual handling and infection control. The usual, run of the mill stuff. I can book shifts a week or a day in advance, but these shifts can change to any speciality or department in the hospital, depending on staffing levels. I book my first shift after six years of having not worked within a ward setting. An unsafe start I turn up to the shift and introduce myself to be met with a mutter. The team and I receive handover and I am allocated my bay of patients. I notice I have twelve patients, three more than the other nurses. I reiterate this is my first time here and that I haven’t worked in ward work for some years. I ask if it would it be possible for someone to show me around – resuscitations trolley, toilets, codes to the drug cupboards. General housekeeping. I receive a grunt and a point, followed by some numbers hurled at me, along with keys. Ok, perhaps they’re just not morning people. I will give them the benefit of the doubt. Off I go to introduce myself to my patients and to immediately make use of my prioritisation skills, escalating any concerns I have to the seemingly disengaged shift leader and (more helpful) doctors. I find that my patients are acutely unwell and in need of a lot of care. I have to remind myself of my 13 years’ experience and how good I am at communicating, reassuring myself I will be ok. Hours later and still no toilet break Seven hours later, hungry and in need of a wee, I ask my shift leader if she could cover me so I can take a break. I am met with, ”your patients are too unwell for you to leave them for 15 minutes, and I don’t have the staff to cover you”. Followed by the ultimate toxic saying within the NHS, ”that’s just how we do it here, always have”. I start to feel neglectful that I would even have thought to have a drink and pass urine. Ten hours pass and still I haven’t had any water or a wee. Three emergencies have taken place without me even having had a proper induction. I take solace in my bond with my patients and lovely doctors who understand how it feels to be isolated and new to an area. Speaking up Perhaps out of dehydration and kidney shut down, I find the voice to politely approach the other nurses and shift leader. I explain that my patients are now stable and highlight my own personal fluid needs. I mention that I still haven’t received an induction. No one has asked me my skills or background nor if I know how to use the different IT systems (drug charts are now on computers). Again, I am met with, “well you choose to be agency, we just all get on with it here”. These are words that frighten me. It isn’t safe to get on with it. I felt out of my depth, overwhelmed, deprived of basic human rights and unwell. Losing confidence Then, a patient’s relative approaches me to say, ”I didn’t want to trouble you as you were running around looking so busy, but dad has chest pain”. At that point my heart breaks. How have I given the impression that I am the unapproachable one on this ward? Have I neglected this poor man? The same man who had cried with laughter at a joke I had made about some TV show we both watched the night before while I was catheterising him. Protocol follows and I investigate his chest pain. No acute cause. Phew. I still leave his side feeling that I am terrible at this. The end of my shift approaches, still no break, still no water or food. Handover time… I introduce myself to the night team. Finally, someone kind welcomes me to the ward. They tell me they all feel like they are doing a bad job and not giving satisfactory care. I think they are trying to reassure me. I cycle home in tears; shattered and broken. The next day I have serious doubts about my own ability. I call my agency and have a long chat with my recruitment consultant (who has never set foot inside a hospital and works on commission). His response? ”Well, you don’t have to go back”. I start to have serious doubts about my choice to work in this way and feel even more perplexed that our wards and teams have become like this. What a difference a day makes My next shift is in an emergency department. Dreading it, I don’t sleep the night before and I turn up riddled with anxiety about what is to fall upon me. I meet the team and prep myself to ‘kill them with kindness’. Everyone is pleasant and welcoming. The senior nurse asks me about my skills and mandatory training and shows me around. She informs me of their expectations and what I could, in return, expect of her team. It seems so simple, a five-minute job, huddling with your team for the sake of patient safety. But what a huge impact it has on my shift. My patients are more acute, I am busier and still don’t urinate. But I am supported and able to escalate concerns without being gas-lighted. Final thoughts I have now booked all of my shifts on that busy emergency department, simply because of the manager. I respect her management style and her approach to the safety of her unit. She doesn’t use those unhelpful and unsafe words, ”we just get on with it” or ”that’s how we do it here”. Since becoming a bit more settled in this world of agency nursing, I have spoken with matrons and lead directorate nurses within this trust about my experience. Often met with, ”what can I do about that?”. But sometimes met with, ”I will look into how that particular ward manages staff safety”. The latter leads on to better patient safety. Key learning points Inductions to new staff in new areas, should be mandatory. It should be the nurse in charge's duty to support junior staff. Doing safety rounds and checking in on all staff would help to manage workload, support flow and build confidence and reassurance among staff on duty. Safety huddles at the beginning, middle and sometimes end of each shift are a simple way of combating so many of the patient safety issues raised in this account. Early warning scores should be displayed and visible for all professionals on duty. They should be checked regularly and actioned accordingly.
  10. News Article
    Just six of the English NHS’s more than 200 private patient units (PPUs) are signed up to the independent complaints adjudicator, HSJ has learned. The figures follow the publication of the Paterson Inquiry earlier this month. The inquiry’s report warned patients treated in private units, including PPUs, which are not regulated by the Independent Sector Complaints Adjudication Service (ISCAS) “will not have access to independent investigation or adjudication of their complaint”. ISCAS is the main independent adjudicator for the private healthcare sector and takes on approximately 125 adjudications each year on unresolved patient complaints. Most standalone independent providers have signed up to the watchdog. However, ISCAS membership is not mandatory and it is concerned patients wishing to complain about care at PPUs will have little choice but to pursue costly legal action. The government is now considering the inquiry’s recommendation that all private patients are given the right to a mandatory independent resolution of their complaint. Read full story Source: HSJ, 26 February 2020
  11. News Article
    The Independent Inquiry into the issues raised by Paterson is yet another missed opportunity to tackle the systemic patient safety risks which lie at the heart of the private hospital business model, says David Rowland from the Centre for Health and the Public Interest in a recent BMJ Opinion article. Although the Inquiry provided an important opportunity for the hundreds of patients affected to bear witness to the pain and harm inflicted upon them it fundamentally failed as an exercise in root cause analysis. None of the “learning points” in the final report touch on the financial incentives which may have led Paterson to deliberately over treat patients. Nor do they cover the business reasons which might encourage a private hospital’s management not to look too closely. He suggests that the Inquiry report threw the responsibility for managing patient safety risks back to the patients themselves in two of its main recommendations but that it should be for the healthcare provider first and foremost to ensure that the professions that they employ are safe, competent and properly supervised, and for this form of assurance to be underpinned by a well-functioning system of licensing and revalidation by national regulatory bodies. Read full story Source: BMJ Opinion, 20 February 2020
  12. News Article
    Ultrasound scans for around 1,800 patients have had to be reviewed over concerns about the “quality and safety” of work carried out by two sonographers employed by an independent provider. The two sonographers were employed by Bestcare Diagnostics. The company held an “any qualified provider” contract for non-obstetric ultrasound scans with Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) from April 2017. This contract was suspended in September 2018 over what the CCG said were “quality issues”. However, new information came to light in spring 2019 and the CCG decided to review all 1,800 patients seen by the pair, who worked for the company between April and August 2018. The CCG said scans for these patients were reviewed and, wherever possible, the patients were contacted. A second stage of the review will look at whether any harm was caused to the patients. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 20 February 2020
  13. 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
  14. 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
  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
    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
  17. News Article
    A cosmetic surgeon has been suspended from the UK medical register for nine months for failures in obtaining informed consent, pressuring a patient into surgery by offering a discount, and laughing when passing on a patient’s complaint of sexual assault by another doctor. Ashish Dutta is the nominated member for the European Society of Aesthetic Surgery on the European Commission for Standardisation of Aesthetic Surgery Services. He is also an examiner for the World Board of Cosmetic Surgery. Read full story (paywalled) Source: BMJ, 27 November 2019
  18. News Article
    The Care Quality Commission (CQC) missed multiple opportunities to identify abuse of patients at a privately run hospital and did not act on the concerns of its own members, an independent review has found. Bosses at the CQC have been criticised in an independent report by David Noble into why the regulator buried a critical report into Whorlton Hall hospital, in County Durham, in 2015. His report published today said the CQC was wrong not to make public concerns from one of its inspection teams in 2015. “The decision not to publish was wrong,” his report said, adding: “This was a missed opportunity to record a poorly performing independent mental health institution which CQC as the regulator, with the information available to it, should have identified at that time.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 22 January 2020
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