Private surgery ‘needs better patient safety regulation’


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The Royal College of Surgeons has called for a review of the way private hospitals are regulated, following the case of Ian Paterson.

The surgeon was convicted last month of unlawfully wounding patients during breast surgery at private clinics in the West Midlands.

He is due to be sentenced this month.

In an open letter, surgical leaders said they had concerns about the availability of patient safety information in private hospitals.

‘Appalling behaviour’

And they called for a stronger focus on patient safety initiatives, to match those in the NHS.

The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) urged the next government to consider ensuring private hospitals had to report unexpected deaths and serious injuries in the same way as hospitals in the NHS.

And it repeated its call for better regulation of cosmetic surgery which is mostly carried out in private clinics.

The surgical group also said it wanted to understand why none of Mr Paterson’s colleagues had challenged his malpractice.

RCS president Clare Marx said: “Ian Paterson wilfully abused the trust placed in him by patients at their most vulnerable.

“His actions and behaviour were appalling, and we must do everything in our power to prevent such a violation being repeated. “

Although the RCS argued against complacency, it added new checks and measures on doctors had been introduced since Patterson had stopped practising.

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