Magazine article Public Finance

Private Hospitals 'Free from Safety Scrutiny'

Magazine article Public Finance

Private Hospitals 'Free from Safety Scrutiny'

Article excerpt

The National Patient Safety Agency has no powers to investigate private hospitals and treatment centres, despite the increasing numbers of NHS patients they treat, a committee of MPs heard on January 16.

The incongruity emerged as Sir Nigel Crisp, chief executive of the NHS, and Susan Williams, joint chief executive of the NPSA, attempted to defend the agency against criticisms from the National Audit Office and the Commons' Public Accounts Committee that it was poor value for money.

The NPSA's ElOm National Reporting and I,earning System was established in 2005 - two years late - as a means to collect information and share learning on the estimated 106,000'patient safety incidents' that occur across NHS acute, ambulance and mental health trusts each year.

MPs were angry that even after the delay, at least 35 trusts had still not reported their accident rates to the NPSA by August 2005, and others appeared to be underreporting.

Following questions from Jon Trickett, Labour MP for Hemsworth, the committee heard that the agency currently had no arrangements to collect information from private health providers.

'What we're doing. …

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