The chief concern identified by the CHPI in its evidence to the Inquiry is that patients are placed at risk by virtue of the private hospital business model. This business model prioritises the interests of the medical consultants who practise at their hospitals and who bring business to the hospital over the interests of patients. The CHPI argues that the regulatory framework operated by the CQC and the Competition and Markets Authority does nothing to reduce these risks.
The CHPI has written a number of publications looking at patient safety in private hospitals and has recently published work looking at the extent of financial incentives operating in the private hospital sector and the risks that these pose to patient safety.
Ian Paterson was convicted in May 2017 of wounding with intent in relation to 10 patients whom he treated in private hospitals.
In total, it is estimated that over 750 patients were harmed by Ian Paterson and in many instances patients were told that they had cancer when they didn’t and were operated on unnecessarily for financial gain.
For each of the patients treated by Paterson the hospital will have received a fee separate to the fee received by the surgeon.
The average income generated by a private hospital in London for a cancer patient is £4000. On this basis the potential amount generated by the private hospitals where Paterson treated 750 patients could be £3m.
However, this is only an estimate and the Inquiry has the powers to ask the private hospitals how much they generated from Paterson’s actions.
Any money which the private hospitals made is on top of the amount which Paterson himself will have made out of his actions, but this is again unknown.
The Independent Inquiry into the issues raised by Paterson was set up by the Government in 2017 and CHPI was formally invited to submit written evidence.