Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Thursday, May 13, 1999 Published at 18:26 GMT 19:26 UK


Health

Clampdown on private hospitals

Private hospitals are to be more closely regulated

A tough regulatory regime is to be introduced for Britain's 300 private hospitals in the wake of a series of scandals.

Health Secretary Frank Dobson told MPs on Thursday that current rules which treated private hospitals as nursing homes were "wholly inadequate".

Mr Dobson highlighted the case of a gynaecologist - who was banned from operating in the NHS after injuring many women patients, but continued to work at a private hospital - as demonstrating the need for change.


[ image: An inquiry is to be held into the case of Rodney Ledward]
An inquiry is to be held into the case of Rodney Ledward
Rodney Ledward was banned from practising last September after a General Medical Council (GMC) hearing found him guilty of serious professional misconduct linked to botched operations.

One woman had her ovaries removed without her consent and another suffered a ruptured bladder.

Mr Dobson set up a public inquiry into the case last month.

"There have been some serious shortcomings," Mr Dobson told the Health Select Committee.

"The present regulatory arrangements are clearly quite unsatisfactory.

"They were originally drawn up at a time when there were not very many private sector hospitals and those that there were did not do anything very complex.

"It is no longer satisfactory for them to be treated for regulatory purposes as nursing homes.

"What is required of a nursing home is not what is required of a place providing acute services."

Mr Dobson said current powers gave regulators only the choice between "a nuclear weapon and a feather duster" - they could make requests to change practices, or in the most serious cases close a hospital down, but had no powers in between.

He said he envisaged a "distinct separate regulatory body for private hospitals", which would be paid for largely by the private sector.

Media reports have suggested that Mr Dobson is considering legislation to establish an independent body to monitor private hospitals.

He is also said to be proposing to make hospitals publish performance league tables and their annual audits in the same way NHS hospitals do.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


Health Contents

Background Briefings
Medical notes

Relevant Stories

18 Mar 99 | Health
Government 'climbdown' over private care

17 Mar 99 | Health
Inquiry ordered into botched operations

04 Mar 99 | Health
Private health care standards under review

19 May 98 | Your NHS
The size and role of private medicine





Internet Links


Department of Health

Private healthcare UK


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Disability in depth

Spotlight: Bristol inquiry

Antibiotics: A fading wonder

Mental health: An overview

Alternative medicine: A growth industry

The meningitis files

Long-term care: A special report

Aids up close

From cradle to grave

NHS reforms: A guide

NHS Performance 1999

From Special Report
NHS in crisis: Special report

British Medical Association conference '99

Royal College of Nursing conference '99