Sir Bruce Keogh to lead on new consultant oversight framework in independent hospitals

Sir Bruce Keogh will lead the creation of a new framework on how consultants are overseen in independent hospitals, the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN) announced today (Wednesday 19 December).

Sir Bruce’s 2013 report on emergency care services, written when he was national medical director at NHS England, paved the way for system-wide transformation of urgent care in England. Under the new commission, he will develop a ‘Consultant Oversight Framework’ to ensure best practice is spread across all independent acute hospitals.

The framework, which forms part of the sector’s response to the ongoing Bishop of Norwich’s inquiry into the Ian Paterson case, will be developed in close consultation with hospital providers, consultant representatives, regulators, Royal Colleges and the NHS, and will apply to consultants engaged on both practising privileges and employed arrangements. Key areas to be addressed include:

  • Governance around medical practitioners
  • Information flows about consultants across the healthcare system including between the independent sector and the NHS
  • Practising privileges arrangements
  • Multi-disciplinary team working
  • Monitoring scope of practice
  • Obtaining patient consent

Commenting on his new role, Sir Bruce said: Independent hospitals currently treat over 1.6 million people every year, including a significant number of NHS patients. While the majority of care in independent hospitals is of high quality and underpinned by robust safety and clinical governance processes, more can and should be done to ensure consultants working in all independent hospitals are performing to the highest possible standards. The development of a Consultant Oversight Framework will help foster a more standardised approach to clinical governance in the sector, including better collaboration and information exchange between private and NHS hospitals.’

IHPN CEO David Hare said Sir Bruce was the ideal candidate to help improve the consistency of clinical governance processes in independent acute hospitals and to push up standards of care further.

‘While the CQC made clear in their report on independent acute hospitals earlier this year that the overwhelming majority of care delivered in the sector is either good or outstanding, inconsistent clinical governance processes were identified as an area of concern. The Consultant Oversight Framework will play a vital role in ensuring that there is greater consistency in the regulation of consultants and that best practice around clinical governance is spread throughout the sector,’ he said.

The Consultant Oversight Framework will be developed in the context of the English healthcare system and will need to be replicable in the devolved nations subject to an effective translation. It will apply to independent acute hospitals but not to diagnostic and imaging services and other specialist services.

The framework is due to be published in Spring 2019 and will support operators own work in ensuring the highest standards of clinical governance within their organisations.