The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) is calling for independent hospitals to collect and publish equivalent data to that which the NHS routinely provides on patient safety and clinical audits. The RCS has published a position statement setting out the changes to standards in the independent sector it believes are required to prevent a repeat of the harm caused by rogue breast surgeon, Ian Paterson. While progress has undoubtedly been made to improve the collection and publication of data in the independent sector, key issues remain. Further regulatory alignment is needed to bring independent sector hospitals’ reporting requirements for patient safety and outcomes data in line with the NHS. Although the independent sector has a duty to report data around unexpected deaths, never events and serious injuries directly to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the data is not routinely published by the CQC. The RCS says this needs to change.
The RCS positon statement also points out that the independent sector doesn’t yet have a data set equivalent to Hospital Episode Statistics – the dataset that publishes how many and what procedures have happened in the NHS – although discussions are occurring between Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) and NHS Digital to enable independent sector data to be included in these statistics.
PHIN expect to publish the first hospital adverse event and health outcomes statistics this year. However, they are calling for improved data reporting from private providers so they are able to publish accurate information to inform patient choice.