CQC urges Private sector hospitals to improve safety

Medical Devices

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has raised significant concerns about the care and safety of private care hospitals after a recent inspection.

It has been found that 70% of the 206 private hospitals inspected were rated good or excellent based on how safe, caring, effective, responsive and well led they were. But there was a cause for concern as 41% required improvement.

“Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found almost a third of private hospitals in England require improvements to the way they deliver care and safety. “

Professor Derek Alderson, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said that while the report shows that the majority of private hospitals are providing high quality care to patients, it exposes the poorer practices of some independent providers and underlines the need for a renewed focus on improving patient safety.

“In particular, we are concerned that inspectors found proven safety procedures such as the WHO surgical checklist were not always fully embedded in private practice. They also found that too often safety was viewed as the responsibility of the individual clinician rather than a corporate responsibility and there was a lack of effective oversight of the practising privileges of consultants.”

He added: “The private sector should report similar safety and quality data to the NHS - on unexpected deaths, never events, and serious injuries - to enable effective monitoring and transparency. It should also be better at taking part in clinical audits – this could become a condition of all NHS and private organisations’ registration with the Care Quality Commission. The outcomes of cancer patients being treated in the private sector are not known, for example, and cosmetic surgery, which happens almost entirely in the private sector, needs to be better regulated.”

Professor Ted Baker, chief inspector of Hospitals at the CQC said: “As the independent quality regulator we hold all providers of healthcare to the same standards regardless of how they are funded. Having inspected all independent acute hospitals in England we now have a comprehensive picture of the quality of care they are providing for the first time – and, importantly, people can use our reports to help them make choices about their treatment."

He added: “Where we found failings, we have been clear that improvements must be made, using our enforcement powers where needed to protect people.”

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