Independent healthcare – a word of recommendation

Stephen Webb

Published 12 February 2018

Independent healthcare

The government inquiry into jailed rogue surgeon Ian Paterson, announced last December, will see continued scrutiny of independent healthcare providers’ governance before a final report and recommendations are published next summer. This report will also consider previously published reports into this case, including Vertita’s investigation of Paterson’s practices at Spire healthcare, published in 2014.


Inquiries into serious professional malpractice are always high profile and rightly so, as they get to the heart of how patients have been harmed.


However, political and media scrutiny of the Paterson inquiry is likely to be especially intense. This is due to the public perception that independent providers put profit before patients. This will shape the responses of politicians, commentators, journalists and social media users, regardless of content in the final report. A Google search for Ian Paterson instantly reveals 1.4m results, with updates being added almost daily. Comparable cases of individual malpractice, which are wholly contained within the NHS, rarely reach this level of interest.


So, what is the impact of this level of interest? Negative coverage, more scrutiny and potentially tighter regulation could have a significant effect on independent healthcare providers from customer numbers and share prices to increase corporate costs and steeper insurance premiums.


We are encouraging independent providers to proactively prepare for further scrutiny of their sector over the next two years. It is important that they use the next eighteen months to get their house in order, to check they have learned the lessons and implemented the recommendations from Verita’s investigation of Paterson’s practices at Spire healthcare, published in 2014.


Taking this action now is not only the right thing to do for patients, but also helps address negative perceptions by demonstrating that the sector can be good corporate citizens, and learn from previous wrongdoings.

Independent healthcare – a word of recommendation

Read the recommendations from Verita’s report and see how your organisation shapes up:

If you would like to learn more about independent healthcare then please contact our Stephen Webb on 020 7494 5670 or [email protected].

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