The chief executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN) has written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock calling for the proposed new Health Service Safety Investigations Bill (HSSIB) to expand its remit to cover both NHS and privately-funded care.
The bill, contained in the recent Queen’s Speech, gives new powers to the current Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch to investigate patient safety incidents and ensure learning is shared across the health service.
However, the bill as currently drafted only applies to the provision of NHS-funded care.
IHPN chief David Hare is calling for the bill to be amended to cover both NHS and privately funded care, in line with the current NHS Patient Safety Strategy which calls for a “whole systems” approach to patient safety, as well as other healthcare initiatives such as the NRLS (National Reporting and Learning System) which covers patient safety incidents across NHS and private care.
The HSSIB had its second reading in the House of Lords last autumn where Peers from across the three main parties echoed IHPN’s calls for the remit of the bill to be extended.
Meanwhile, a joint committee of the Commons and Lords on the HSSIB stated in its final report that its remit should extend beyond just NHS-funded services to the whole healthcare system.
Other healthcare bodies calling for privately funded care to be covered by the bill include the Royal College of Surgeons, Royal College of Nursing and the British Medical Association.
Hare said that with independent healthcare providers delivering over two million acute procedures every year, it is vital that privately funded care is covered by the bill.
“The health service has made huge strides in recent years in taking a more systems-based approach to safety and we urge the government to amend the bill and bring it into line so that all patients, regardless of how they access their healthcare, are able to benefit from this shared system learning,” he argued.