Surgeons welcome government support for a ‘single repository of information’ about consultants’ practice
16 Dec 2021
The government has today published its response to the Paterson Inquiry Report. Commenting on this, Professor Neil Mortensen, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said:
“There was widespread revulsion in the surgical community at the criminal actions of the jailed surgeon, Ian Paterson. He caused appalling harm and distress to hundreds of patients and their families. Despite concerns raised about his professional competence and conduct, Paterson was allowed to continue working for over a decade across the NHS and independent sector.
“We have repeatedly called for the same safety standards to be enforced across both the NHS and private healthcare sector. In our evidence to the Inquiry, we recommended that a single repository of information about consultants’ practice should be created. We advised this because it will allow the NHS and private sector to share information and raise any concerns about patient safety much more quickly. We are therefore pleased that the Government has accepted this recommendation in principle.
“We also fully support the government’s decision to give the Care Quality Commission the power to monitor whether independent hospitals are complying with guidance on multi-disciplinary team meetings. This will help to facilitate better team working and information sharing. Ultimately, it should help to protect patients from potential rogue surgeons, or other health professionals.
“The Independent Inquiry exposed how patients were let down at every level by the system. The Inquiry’s recommendations are designed to improve patient safety and prevent such criminal actions from happening again. As a member of the Paterson Programme Board, I have worked with the Department of Health and Social Care on how to implement these recommendations. Everyone working in healthcare owes it to the patients who were so badly let down, to make these changes.”
In December 2017, the government launched an independent national Inquiry following the malpractice of jailed surgeon, Ian Paterson. Despite concerns raised about his professional competence and conduct, Paterson was allowed to continue working for over a decade across the NHS and independent sector. The trial established that this rogue surgeon had undertaken numerous unnecessary breast operations over many years, causing appalling harm and distress to hundreds of patients. This raised a series of questions about how surgery in the independent sector is regulated and assured, and about the oversight and governance of doctors who work across the NHS and independent sector.
The Royal College of Surgeons of England gave oral evidence to the Inquiry in September 2018. The College called for equivalent and consistently high standards of care to be enforced in both the NHS and the independent sector, to improve patient safety.
As a member of the Paterson Programme Board, Professor Mortensen has worked with the Department of Health and Social Care to discuss how the Inquiry’s recommendations can be taken forward. The government will publish a progress report in 12 months’ time and the College will continue to monitor implementation and ensure that lessons are learned.
Notes to editors
- The government response to the independent inquiry report into the issues raised by former surgeon Ian Paterson can be read here: Government response to the independent inquiry report into the issues raised by former surgeon Ian Paterson - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- The Paterson Inquiry published its report on Tuesday 4 February 2020. The report is available here: Report of the independent inquiry into the issues raised by Paterson.
- The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity. The College provides world-class education, assessment and development to more than 28,000 surgeons, dental professionals and members of the wider surgical and dental care teams, at all stages of their career. The College sets professional standards, facilitates research and champions the best outcomes for patients – with a vision to see excellent surgical care for everyone.
- For more information, please contact the RCS England Press Office. Telephone: 020 7869 6047/6052. Email: email@example.com For out-of-hours media enquiries: 020 7869 6056