How well do you know your Surgeons?

In light of the recent failings of rouge surgeon Ian Paterson, the Care Quality Commission has recently aired concerns regarding the ‘old-fashioned’ approach to consultants and surgeons within the private hospital sector.

In the first comprehensive review of the sector, the CQC looked at 206 sites that treat both private patients and NHS funded patients to be treated privately. Whilst 70% were highlighted as good or excellent, the regulator found there was a ‘real danger’ poor practices were not being picked up or challenged.

Significant concern

As reported by BBC Health, the report highlighted the lack of monitoring and proper checks of senior doctors and surgeons to ensure they were only undertaking treatments they were qualified to do or carrying them out in a safe way.

Chief inspector of hospitals Prof Ted Baker described the approach to consultants as “old-fashioned” as it relied on informal systems and people knowing each other.

“Too often, safety was viewed as the responsibility of individual clinicians, rather than a corporate responsibility supported by formal governance processes.”
Chief inspector of hospitals Prof Ted Baker

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Hospitals at the bare minimum, should be able to view and monitor the entire perioperative process

No room for complacency

Where inspectors had highlighted problems, hospitals were being quick to respond. But what kind of governance can be put in place?

A good starting point is to look closely at the Hospital Management Information System.

Hospitals at the bare minimum, should be able to view and monitor the entire perioperative process, including:

  1. A comprehensive record of each clinician and their recorded specialties.
  2. ‘Permitted Procedure’ rules, ensuring that surgeons can only perform pre-approved procedures.
  3. Comprehensive automated scheduling to eliminate human error.
  4. Time-stamp monitoring throughout the entire operating room.
  5. Track serial numbers of items used, out-of-hours surgery and the most frequent procedures.

Dr Howard Freeman, of the NHS Partners Network, which represents private providers, believes providing safe and high-quality care is a “top priority”. So, if you are using a HIS that’s not as thorough as it should be, you may wish to seek our advice.

Find out more about Compucare and the Theatre module, or arrange a free demonstration.