Close Legal Loophole which allows Patients NO Protection against Negligent Surgeons
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We currently face a problematic situation where there is a schism between the laws that protect patients within the NHS and those that relate to private healthcare when an injury is sustained by a patient due to negligent treatment.
Private healthcare patients are commonly led to believe that the care they are paying for will exceed the highest standards offered by the NHS, and assume that the claims made in company mission statements, advertising literature and company accounts have to be correct and true by law.
Unfortunately, this is not so. In cases where patients are treated wrongfully or negligently private healthcare patients currently have less access to adequate redress and compensation than NHS patients. This is partly because liability insurance for surgeons in the private sector is discretionary rather than mandatory meaning that cover can be withdrawn – even retrospectively – leaving patients without the possibility of compensation.
The petitioners therefore ask Parliament to legislate to require all private healthcare providers/companies/institutions to have liability insurance covering compensation for negligence in the work of their employees and of freelance healthcare professionals working on their behalf or practising on their premises.
Furthermore, private healthcare providers/companies/institutions should be obligated to ensure that the surgeons they provide to perform procedures are not only correctly qualified and competent, but also not under investigation, suspension or other disciplinary action from other private healthcare providers/companies/institutions or NHS authorities. At present legislation is insufficient, allowing one private healthcare company to permit their legal representatives to write in a legal defence document that they were ‘under no obligation to provide competent surgeons to perform surgery at the hospital’ and had ‘no duty to protect patients from harm, and risk of injury’.
The Petitioners would like to add that legislation should be put in place to ensure that no surgeon under disciplinary procedures can work anywhere in the UK (NHS or private sector) until the issues for which they are being investigated are properly and completely resolved to the satisfaction of the GMC, the patient(s) and in the case of fatalities the patients' families
We ask Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt and the Department of Health to close the legal loophole which allows for private healthcare patients to be left without protection or redress when things go wrong. With an increasing role played by private healthcare companies fulfilling NHS contracts we must put public safety first and ensure that private healthcare companies are obligated to provide clinical excellence for all their patients, to be transparent in their investigation of complaints and to provide proper protection and redress if things go wrong.
We must not allow negligent practice to continue to run rife in the private sector, and we cannot allow this ruthless profiteering without responsibility to permeate our NHS. Until this legal loophole is closed we are all at risk - please sign and share widely!
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