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The Authority comments on Government response to Paterson Inquiry

 

We welcome the Government’s response to the Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Issues raised by Paterson, including its decision to accept a large number of the inquiry’s recommendations, particularly recommendation 11, for the Government to: ‘ensure that the current system of regulation and the collaboration of the regulators serves patient safety as the top priority, given the ineffectiveness of the system identified in this inquiry.’   

As the report makes clear, one of the things that allowed Ian Paterson to cause harm to so many of his patients was that patient safety concerns fell in the gaps between organisations. We are committed to working with regulators and stakeholders to help close those gaps. Actions we are taking which will support this commitment include:

  • We are consulting (until 21st December) on changes to the way we carry out our performance reviews to ensure that we are more agile in responding to risks and issues when they arise. We intend to improve the  range of information we get from stakeholders to help us get a rounded picture of the performance of the regulators we oversee.   
  • The regulators we oversee, including those named in the Report, are working to address the concerns raised by the Inquiry. We will check their progress as part of our rgveviews of performance against our Standards of Good Regulation.
  • As part of our ‘Bridging the Gap’ project, mentioned by the Government, we will be looking closely at the ways in which regulators collaborate, and how they share data and information, to promote improvement.

We note the Government’s reference to the reforms to health professional regulation and the potential for these to address some of the issues described in the report, particularly the proposed duty to cooperate. We have called for reform and support many of the Government’s proposals. We urge the Government to ensure that changes made as part of the reforms address the problems identified in the Paterson Report

ENDS

Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care

Contact: Christine Braithwaite, Director of Standards and Policy

Email: media@professionalstandards.org.uk

Notes to the Editor

  1. The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care oversees 10 statutory bodies that regulate health and social care professionals in the UK.
  2. We assess their performance and report to Parliament. We also conduct audits and investigations and can appeal fitness to practise cases to the courts if we consider that sanctions are insufficient to protect the public and it is in the public interest.
  3. We also set standards for organisations holding voluntary registers for health and social care occupations and accredit those that meet them.
  4. We share good practice and knowledge, conduct research and introduce new ideas to our sector. We monitor policy developments in the UK and internationally and provide advice on issues relating to professional standards in health and social care.
  5. We do this to promote the health, safety and wellbeing of users of health and social care services and the public. We are an independent body, accountable to the UK Parliament.
  6. Our values are – integrity, transparency, respect, fairness and teamwork – and we strive to ensure that they are at the core of our work.
  7. More information about our work and the approach we take is available at www.professionalstandards.org.uk
  8. The Government response to the independent inquiry report into the issues raised by former surgeon Ian Paterson has been published yesterday. The full response is available here and the Ministerial statement here.
  9. The 'Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Issues raised by Paterson' published in February 2020 made a range of findings and recommendations arising from the case of surgeon Dr Ian Paterson. The Inquiry made a number of specific findings relating to how professional and system regulators had handled the complaints raised by patients and issued recommendation 11 which stated: ‘We recommend that the government should ensure that the current system of regulation and the collaboration of the regulators serves patient safety as the top priority, given the ineffectiveness of the system identified in this inquiry.’