Response to the Paterson Inquiry report

image of an open book with red bookmark on green background to show Response to the Paterson Inquiry report

Health organisations have responded to the publication of the Paterson Inquiry report, set up following the conviction of surgeon Ian Paterson.

The Paterson Inquiry reviewed the circumstances surrounding Ian Paterson’s malpractice that have affected so many patients and consider other past and current practices. It aimed to learn lessons from these and make recommendations to improve the safety and quality of care provided nationally to all patients, in the independent sector and in the NHS.

In his opening statement, Chair the Paterson Inquiry, The Rt Revd Graham James said: “This report is not simply a story about a rogue surgeon. It would be tragic enough if that
was the case, given the thousands of people whom Ian Paterson treated. But it is far worse.

“It is the story of a healthcare system which proved itself dysfunctional at almost every level when it came to keeping patients safe, and where those who were the victims of Paterson’s malpractice were let down time and time again.”

Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen, Chair of the Private Healthcare Information Network, said: “The Paterson Inquiry report published today rightly focuses on the impact of Ian Paterson’s premeditated criminality on his patients and their families. This serves as a reminder of why improved reporting and communication that works across both NHS and private healthcare is so important.

“We must accept that there were system-wide failures which let Ian Paterson take advantage of his patients’ trust. Changes have been introduced to reduce the reporting gap between private and NHS healthcare, with PHIN publishing more information for patients about private healthcare than has been available before. However, data reporting and clinical governance too often remains fragmented.

“A single repository of whole practice consultant information, available to managers and healthcare professionals will support better clinical governance and help identify patterns of poor care at an earlier stage. It is vital that this is also available to the public in an accessible and understandable way. As such we welcome this as the first recommendation in the Inquiry report.

“Shortly we will be launching a consultation with NHS Digital which considers the first steps on that journey, working toward the creation of a single unified dataset for planned hospital admissions in England.

“Patients deserve the best standards of care and peace of mind that their consultants and hospitals are held accountable, regardless of whether their care is funded through the NHS or by themselves.”

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said: “Our thoughts are with the many victims who suffered needlessly at the hands of Ian Paterson and I hope that the strength of the recommendations in this report provides some reassurance that lessons are being and will be learned. We can see that both the NHS and independent sector are committed to work together and to share intelligence to make sure that patients are not let down by individual clinicians in this way again.

“While the vast majority of care in this country is of high quality and underpinned by robust safety and medical governance processes, more can and should be done.

“This is a pivotal moment for patient safety and we all need to recognise the need for greater consistency in how information is shared so that everyone has a comprehensive understanding of the quality of clinical care that is being delivered.

“As we move seek to integrate services, this must be a top priority.

“As the recommendations are considered by the Government, NHS and independent sector providers must be given the time and support to take forward any new requirements around data-sharing. We also need to send the right signals at national and local level which help to create safe cultures throughout our healthcare system – this is still a work in progress and part of it is making sure that staff at all levels feel able to speak up and raise concerns. This is what patients expect and deserve.”