Outsourcing of cataract operations

  • Posted

Posted 18/08/2014

Rosaline Wong 1397335781_RosalineWong2.jpg

Cataract operations which had been outsourced to a private firm Vanguard Healthcare to help clear NHS backlog of patients were halted following complaints.

Rosaline Wong, Clinical Negligence specialist at Ashtons Legal Solicitors commented,

”As demand for surgery has increased, outsourcing NHS work to the independent sector has been on the rise year on year. Some operations on knees and hips joints and cataracts are contracted out to shorten waiting times. It is predicted that delivery of NHS services by the private sector will increase between 20 and 40% by 2020.

In general, cataract operations have a very low complication rate. So it is not surprising that questions have been raised when 31 out of 62 patients who underwent cataract operations reported complications in a short space of time. The public would want to know if profits have been put before patient safety; if the selection and vetting of private providers had been diligently carried out, whether the staff employed possessed the necessary skills and experience to operate, and whether proper follow up care had been provided.

The general public will want to be reassured that mistakes are not caused by companies being more focused on profit than healthcare.

Our clinical negligence team has seen evidence of corner-cutting from independent health providers. I believe the problems seen at Musgrove Park may be just a tip of the iceberg. In 2013, the contract with Clinicenta was terminated and the Lister Surgicentre in Stevenage was closed for a similar reason.

Patients welfare and safety are always paramount and cannot be compromised. When things go wrong, it’s the poor patients that suffer incurable loss of sight and the NHS that have to carry out remedial treatment for the sub-standard work. It is inconceivable that when private healthcare companies, which are brought in and paid to provide specific operations, botched the surgery and the NHS is expected to pay the damages. This cannot be right.”   

Surgical errors can change patients lives permanently. If you have concerns regarding complications arising from surgery, you may like to receive specialist legal advice from our Clinical Negligence team. Please call us on 0330 404 0773.


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