Independent Sector Complaints Adjudication Service (ISCAS); highlights from the year Annual Report 2013

This is the 13th year of ISCAS, originally formed in response to a report by the Health Select Committee, and developed on best practice with external adjudication by an independent body which enables both complainants and healthcare providers (ISCAS members) to find closure of otherwise intractable complaints.

IHAS joins Skills for Health Board

This month I am writing about the most important asset, the skills of our workforce; and the powerful new resources corporate Boards can now call upon to make their investment in workforce skills give the best return.

Marketing rules tightened

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) recently issued a radically revised Help Note on Cosmetic Interventions, following the Keogh Review’s remarks on the laxity of practices in this sector. IHAS welcomes the new stringency and was pleased to advise on their formulation.

Medical revalidation, a progress report by Sally Taber

Sir Keith Pearson, chair of the Revalidation Implementation Advisery Board, has a strong message for providers’ management boards throughout the UK – medical revalidation is your business’. He wants on every Board agenda a report from the responsible officer setting out progress towards the 100% medical revalidation target. Revalidation implementation is still in its early months and one needs to be cautious about drawing conclusions about its progress. In England 20,379 recommendations were received to the GMC by 8 September 2013 from a total for the cycle of 230,999 doctors - a rate of 8.8% of numbers of doctors to be revalidated.

Accountability reigns

Following Winterbourne View there must be robust consequences for Boards of directors where the organisation they lead fails to give proper care. The Department of Health (DH) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) committed to examine what powers they had to bring about those robust consequences, and what could be done to strengthen what they have. The Francis report, following Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, highlighted that all directors of bodies coming under CQC should be fit and proper persons’, and powers of interventions be given to CQC if they were not. The DH considered additional prosecution powers. Norman Lamb MP, Minister for Care and Support, then consulted the opinion of interested parties on the combined proposals, including the independent healthcare sector, perhaps conscious that there is also much good experience to be garnered from the healthcare world. He proposed that there should be a new registration requirement covering the fitness of directors of Boards; and to improve the way existing sanctions are used to prosecute providers who failed to give proper care.

Whistleblowing at work, by Sally Taber

The recent events at Morecambe Bay, Winterbourne View and Mid Staffordshire (amongst others), show a recurring theme; people witnessed wrongdoing and tried to speak up, but were ignored, gagged or bullied into silence. Under the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) of 1998, individuals making a disclosure in good faith are protected from any consequences suffered as a result of their disclosure. In light of the above scandals, it is clear that PIDA has not worked. In February 2013, Public Concern at Work (PCaW) established a Whistleblowing Commission to examine existing provisions for whistleblowers and how these could be updated to amend PIDA’s shortfalls. IHAS has examined the material published by PCaW, and has identified a number of flaws and omissions in current whistleblowing legislation, as stated in the IHAS response to the PCaW consultation.

Untangling bureaucracy

Sally Taber outlines what work is being done to reduce the amount of paperwork choking the healthcare sector

Keogh must act to safeguard patients

Regulation in cosmetic interventions had fallen behind the times, and Sir Bruce’s review was well overdue. Fast remedies are necessary for patient safety and for the continued probity of some healthcare professions. IHAS Members have for some years developed and instituted voluntary standards and practices that closely accord with those instigated by the review.

IHAS subsumed into AIHO

Independent Healthcare Advisory Services (IHAS) is to become a division of the Association of Independent Healthcare Organisations (AIHO), formerly the Private Hospitals Alliance.

13.5% growth in independent providers, by Sally Taber

There was a 13.5% increase in independent providers (hospital, community and mental health/learning disability and substance misuse) between 31 March and 31 December 2012. By 31 December 2012, 1,393 independent providers were registered with CQC (an increase of 166). In terms of registered locations, there was an increase of 246 locations in the same period, bringing the number to 3,010 locations (an increase of 8.9%). The specific increase in independent hospital services provision was 8.2%.