“We note with interest the comments of Prof Alderson and welcome any move towards greater transparency within the private sector to ensure patient safety.
There continues to be an increase in the amount of procedures carried out in private hospitals and it’s a myth that a patient being treated in a large private hospital is in some way going to receive better treatment or will be safer from harm than an NHS patient.
The proposals for private hospitals to collect and publish the same level of patient safety data as the NHS and to provide details of consultants’ performances could have helped to avoid the wide scale injuries caused by Ian Paterson had they been in place at the time he was carrying out unnecessary operations on countless patients. Mr Paterson appeared to be acting in isolation for long periods of time, with no publicly known details or statistics of how he was performing his job. The lack of regulation or knowledge of what he was actually doing is reflected in the fact that many former patients of Paterson who have come forward to give evidence to the Independent Inquiry into the issues raised by Paterson, were not actually known about before they came forward.
There are some commentators who have called for participation in all national safety audits for patients as being a condition for registration with the CQC for private hospitals and surgeons who practice at them and in my view that has to be put in place as soon as possible. It will be interesting to see the conclusions of the independent inquiry (due at the end of 2019) about how patient safety in the NHS and the Independent Sector can be assured for all. “