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The second medical scandal at a Midlands’ based private hospital

Second Medical Scandal Highlights Need for Robust Insurance

Feb 2020


The second medical scandal at a Midlands’ based private hospital within just a few years has helped demonstrate the value of medical insurance for both private hospitals and medical practitioners.

The Spire Parkway Hospital, Solihull has recalled 217 patients[1] who underwent shoulder surgery by surgeon Mr Habib Rahman, following a Royal College of Surgeons investigation.[2]

One patient who has had two failed shoulder operations performed by the orthopaedic surgeon was later told that the operation was not necessary and that such surgery was not within Mr Rahman’s field of expertise.

The incident has created more headlines for a hospital at the centre of the breast cancer surgery case in 2017, which led to surgeon Ian Paterson being jailed for 20 years, for conducting unnecessary breast cancer operations.  That case cost Spire £27m in damages.

With this most recent case, Spire claims its finances will not be damaged, due to its existing indemnity cover providing protection that will enable it to defend any claims against it.  Its cover limits are said to have been increased in late 2017, after Chief Executive Justin Ash joined the business.  Spire also says any claims should be met by Mr Rahman’s own insurance.

Whilst it might have been hoped that the Paterson case was a one-off, the medical sector is one that is primed for such cases, given that patients are more or less reliant on the consultancy and skills of whichever consultant they see and are treated by.  Few would question a surgeon’s competency or opinion and the issues only really emerge post procedure.

Changes may occur, however, with more scrutiny of surgeons and consultants and greater probing into their case files.  This is particularly likely, as Mr Rahman not only had practising privileges at the Spire Parkway Hospital but also at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust. The Royal College of Surgeons has already called for annual appraisals of surgeons, so as to be able to compare their work in both NHS and private hospitals.[3]

This case demonstrates why both private medical centres that could be held accountable for an incident, and individual medical practitioners who could be accused of medical negligence, require robust insurance protection.

Whilst being sued for damages is one punishment, worse could occur for those in any form of authority at a private hospital, should it be deemed that their lack of control contributed to a death or serious medical incident.  For this reason, Directors & Officers Insurance is a protection bought by directors, managers and supervisors who are responsible for decision making and control of particular aspects of a business. This protects their own personal finances from being exposed and helps defend cases that could result in a prison sentence. 

Any practising medical professional should also have their own medical negligence insurance in place, plus other covers required for their own individual circumstances.

The covers required can be discussed with an expert insurance broker, who can tailor insurance protection to individual businesses and clients, rather than just providing an off-the-shelf package that may not be sufficient.  To source a broker who can help with medical and other insurances, please use our ‘Find a Local Broker’ 

tool.

[1] https://www.standard.co.uk/business/spire-healthcare-detects-no-hurt-to-pocket-from-patients-recall-in-latest-controversy-a4345696.html
[2] https://www.morningstar.co.uk/uk/news/AN_1580115758270656000/spire-healthcare-does-not-expect-financial-harm-from-patient-recall.aspx
[3] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/01/29/private-healthcare-falls-spotlight-doctor-suspended-spire/

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