The Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Issues raised by Paterson highlights how patients were let down time and time again. It is difficult to read given the heart-breaking details of the brave patients who came forward to provide their account. ISCAS would like to extend an apology to all those affected by Ian Paterson who were unable to find an early resolution or appropriate escalation to complaints raised in the independent sector.
ISCAS provided oral and written evidence to the Rt. Revd. Graham James and his team. We are keen to take forward recommendations impacting on complaint handling in the independent sector in this report. At this time legislation prevents the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman (PHSO) from looking into the complaints of private patients. We will be reviewing the report in more detail and looking for ways to improve our processes so that they are more transparent and aligned with the PHSO.
We consider that information to patients is key to support informed consent and we will continue to work with the Patients Association to ensure that information about the differences in the independent healthcare sector is better communicated. ISCAS already has in place Information Sharing Agreements (ISA) with the healthcare regulators across Great Britain. We are working with other regulators and bodies to ensure that any concerns raised through unresolved complaints are escalated appropriately.
ISCAS is not mandatory and instead operates as a not-for-profit voluntary subscription organisation. However, the majority of independent healthcare providers do subscribe and sign up to our Code of Practice for Complaints Management. ISCAS is referenced in the related guidance provided by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to the Fundamental Standard on receiving and acting on complaints. We will continue to strive to ensure that complaint procedures must explain to patients how and when unresolved matters can be escalated for independent review.
Whilst ISCAS remains independent of other organisations working to improve patient safety in independent healthcare, we will continue to work with Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN) and the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) to ensure that good practice, in our case with respect to complaint handling, is fully implemented across the independent sector.