Care UK’s Barlborough NHS Treatment Centre in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, was given an overall rating of 'good', and also a 'good' rating for surgery. Yet in the previous 12 months there had been four serious patient safety incidents that should not occur
Care UK’s Barlborough NHS Treatment Centre in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, was given an overall rating of 'good', and also a 'good' rating for surgery. Yet in the previous 12 months there had been four serious patient safety incidents that should not occur

NHS patients sent for treatment at smaller private hospitals 'put at risk due to unsafe staffing and facilities'

Serious problems found even in private hospitals rated 'good' by the regulator

Paul Gallagher
Monday 30 November 2015 01:16
Comments

NHS patients sent for treatment at smaller private hospitals are being put at risk because of unsafe staffing and facilities, according to a report by an anti-privatisation think-tank.

Nurses without specialist training, high levels of agency staff on post-operative wards and hygiene weaknesses were among the alleged risks identified by the Centre for Health and the Public Interest.

Analysis of 15 Care Quality Commission investigations into hospitals from each of England’s six main private chains found serious problems even in hospitals rated “good” by the regulator.

For example, Care UK’s Barlborough NHS Treatment Centre in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, was given an overall rating of “good”, and also a “good” rating for surgery. Yet in the previous 12 months there had been four “never events” – serious patient safety incidents that should not occur. Similarly London’s Harley Street Clinic, run by HCA International, was rated as good overall, even though it “requires improvement” for both safety and the treatment of children.

“In these cases safety risks appear not to have been prioritised in the overall ratings,” said the report from the think-tank, which was set up to challenge the growing role of competition and markets in the health service.

Co-author Brian Toft, visiting professor of patient safety at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, said: “This Government has prioritised transparency as a key to safety. But although more and more NHS patients are treated in private hospitals, there has been no concurrent commitment to bring private hospitals into the same transparency regime.” NHS patient admissions to private hospitals for surgery last year totalled nearly 500,000, or more than a quarter of all surgeries at private hospitals.

The private chains named in the report have dismissed any suggestion that patient safety was at risk.

Care UK said: “The report lets its political slant distort all the available evidence in a way that is potentially misleading to patients. Barlborough Treatment Centre was rigorously inspected and found to be ‘good’ in four of five areas and ‘outstanding’ in the fifth. All the evidence is that the service has excellent outcomes.”

The Harley Street Clinic said: “The Care Quality Commission’s overall rating of ‘good’ reflects the care we provide for complex medical conditions. We have acted on the recommendations made by the Care Quality Commission where appropriate.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in