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NPSA abolition mires incident reporting deal with private sector


A long-awaited deal to get private clinics and hospitals to feed their safety data into the national incident database has been stalled since July by government plans to abolish quangos, Nursing Times has learnt.

Independent Healthcare Advisory Services director Sally Taber said patients could be at risk while the deal remains stalled, because currently patient safety alerts are based only on NHS data.

She said the private acute sector was last summer on the cusp of agreeing to feed its incident reports to the national reporting and learning system, hosted by the National Patient Safety Agency.

But when the Department of Health decided in July to abolish the agency, following its review of arm’s length bodies, Ms Taber said “everything came to a grinding halt”.

“Just before the review of arm’s length bodies, we got all the support from the independent sector to feed their adverse clinical incidents to the NPSA. We got all the IT sorted out,” she told Nursing Times. “[Then] everything stopped.”

Since then the deal has been on hold, while the parties wait to see who will take on the national reporting and learning system after the NPSA’s demise.

The NRLS receives confidential reports of NHS safety incidents from healthcare staff across England and Wales. NPSA experts analyse the data to identify common risks and issue safety alerts. The agency also publishes regular data on the number of incident reports it receives, broken down by region and organisation.

Ms Taber said that currently patients “don’t get any comparison to see whether these are problems in the independent sector, and from a patient safety point of view, that’s key”.

An NPSA spokeswoman said linking independent sector providers to the reporting system was first trialled in 2005.

She said: “Over the last year we had started the conversations again to see how the independent sector could feed into the NRLS but unfortunately these discussions have been put on hold since the decision to abolish us.”


Readers' comments (3)

  • It's the quango that has disappeared, not the business that was supporting it. The fact that the NPSA has not taken any steps to address who or what will deal with supporting business is indicative of why they are being disposed of. Self interested and self serving is the impression I get from this statement

    "......these discussions have been put on hold since the decision to abolish us.”

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  • The reasons why the discussions are on hold are because the NHS Commissioning Board will be taking responsiblity for the system from 2011 - so it awaits the team [yet to be set up] to do that. There is nothing self interested or self serving about ensuring it is right for the new infratructure rather than wasting everyones time with the old infrastructure.

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  • Supermarket/departmental store care for patients
    take you pick from a list of choices
    or use your PC to transmit your results and get an en electronic printed out with the treatment presuming you are computer literate and can afford the equipment and online connection
    or try getting advice from a call centre
    you may even be able to get a motion eye so that you can be monitored over a
    computer screen

    does abolition of the nhs and introduction of more private facilities mean less equality of care across the country, longer waiting lists, lower standards and doubtful data protection?

    I hope these concerns are ill-founded but I think members of the public need reassurance of what care and treatment they can expect for current conditions and in the future and what is in store for the elderly so that they can make early provision.

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