Spire Healthcare Limited has been ordered to pay a total of £20,104.36 after admitting it failed to apologise or disclose details of failures in their treatment, to four patients in a timely manner.
This related to surgical procedures carried out by a consultant at Spire Leeds Hospital which resulted in those patients suffering prolonged pain and requiring further remedial surgery.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) brought the prosecution after it emerged that Spire Healthcare Limited failed to share details in a timely manner of what happened to four patients who were being treated by Mr Mike Walsh, an upper limb orthopaedic consultant who worked at Spire Leeds Hospital, in line with their duty of candour responsibilities.
The provider was fined £5,000, a £120 victim surcharge and ordered to pay £14,984.36 court costs at Leeds Magistrates’ Court today (Thursday, 29 April) in the first prosecution of its kind against an independent provider of healthcare.
Under the Health and Social Care Act, duty of candour (Regulation 20), care providers must act with openness and transparency, and provide a timely apology to people receiving care, or their relatives, in the event of a serious incident.
The four patients were treated by Mr Walsh, to differing extents, up until 2017, when concerns were raised with the hospital by NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), several physiotherapists at the hospital and another upper limb consultant surgeon.
Spire then undertook a review of a number of Mr Walsh’s cases where concerns had been raised, including the four that are the subject of this prosecution. These cases were also reviewed by an independent upper limb orthopaedic consultant surgeon, in May and June 2018.
In November 2018, Spire issued letters to the four patients informing them of the concerns identified in respect of their care and treatment. Spire was aware of the occurrence of a notifiable safety incident at least several months before the letters were finally issued.
Sarah Dronsfield, CQC’s head of hospital inspection, said:
“All care providers have a duty to be open and transparent with patients and their loved ones, particularly when something goes wrong, and this case sends a clear message that we will not hesitate to take action when that does not happen.
“The patients under the charge of Mr Walsh did not receive a prompt apology for the poor care they received.
“People using any type of health or social care service have a right to be informed about all elements of their care and treatment - and, all providers have a responsibility to be open and honest with those in their care. Spire Healthcare Limited failed to meet that responsibility in a timely manner, which is why the CQC took this action.
“This is the first time that CQC has prosecuted an independent healthcare provider for failure to comply with the regulation concerning duty of candour, and we welcome the outcome of today’s hearing.”
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