The I: ‘Private Hospitals ‘Put Patients at Risk’

I just found this article in today’s ‘I’ newspaper for 30th November 2015, reporting the findings of the Centre for Health and the Public Interest that poor standards at smaller private hospitals are a risk to patients’ health. The article by Paul Gallagher states

‘NHS patients sent for treatment at smaller private hospitals are being put at risk because of unsafe staffing and facilities, according to a report by an anti-privatisation think-tank.

Nurses without specialist training, high levels of agency staff on post-operative wards and hygiene weaknesses were also among the patient safety risk identified by the Centre for Health and Public Interest (CHPI).

Analysis of 15 Care Quality Commission (CQC) investigations into hospitals from each of England’s six main private hospital chains found serious problems even in hospitals rate “good” by the regulator. Care UK’s Barlborough NYHS Treatment Centre in Chesterfield was given an overall rating of “good” and a rating of “good” specifically for surgery. Yet in the previous 12 months there had been four “never events”, defined as “serious, largely preventable, patient safety incidents that should not occur”.

Dr Howard Freeman, of the NHS Partners Network, said: “The overwhelming majority of NHS care delivered by independent sector hospitals is safe”.’

I dare say the treatment at most private hospitals is safe, but that does not mean that it is necessarily particularly high or of the same quality as that supplied by the NHS. In America, there is a very high incidence of iatrogenic disease. In the case of surgery, this is built into the system through the profit motive. Doctors and surgeons get paid if they treat. Therefore, they will offer or suggest treatment, even if its unnecessary. Way back in the 1980s Panorama did an edition on medicine in America, at the time when Maggie was considering its privatisation, and revealed the very high rates of unnecessary operations in the Land of the Free. This adds further evidence to corroborate existing information on the detrimental effects of private healthcare, no matter what Bliar and Cameron have told and are telling everyone.

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3 Responses to “The I: ‘Private Hospitals ‘Put Patients at Risk’”

  1. Florence Says:

    The same can be said for the opposite end of the USA healthcare system for the poor – Medicare. A cousin nearly died & suffered brain damage from a botched emergency cesarean under Medicare, and people there just shrugged and said “well that’s what you get”, totally fatalistic. There was no care provided for the 12 months it took for her to return from being a semi-vegetable to a two-year old, while the family also had the baby to care for. Nothing, Zilch. We need to remember there are two, not one, health systems in the USA, and we are in danger of getting both here.

    • beastrabban Says:

      I’m really sorry to hear about that, Florence. That’s terrible. Unfortunately, as poor as it is, the Republicans would even like to take even Medicare away from the poor. It’s costs have massively inflated due to fees from the hospitals and surgeons treating patients on medicare, and the Repugs would like to end it. This would leave about 20 per cent of all Americans without any kind of healthcare whatsoever. When LBJ introduced it in the late ’60s, Ronald Reagan launched a campaign claiming that it would be the end of American freedom. Which tells you exactly how disgusting his policies were.

      We desperately need to keep the NHS and protect it from degenerating into the American system.

      • Florence Says:

        Yes , one of my English cousins now in the US has been campaigning hard against the forces calling improvements in medicare “communist” using her experience (as a nurse) of the NHS to challenge them. We need to make sure that those involved in defending the NHS understand the full implications of the privatisation, including the poor care for the poor that is already creeping in.

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