Spire Healthcare has been ordered to pay £20,000 after delaying telling four patients of concerns over their care at the private healthcare provider’s Leeds hospital.
The Yorkshire Post reports Leeds Magistrates Court heard the patients suffered prolonged pain and needed further surgery after being treated at Spire Leeds by upper limb orthopaedic consultant Mike Walsh.
Spire was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay nearly £15,000 costs after pleading guilty to failing to comply with duty of candour obligations.
The court heard the four were treated by Walsh, who was eventually suspended in April 2018, to differing extents up until 2017.
It was then that concerns were raised with the hospital by Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group, several physiotherapists and another surgeon, the Care Quality Commision said.
Consequently, Spire reviewed a number of Walsh’s cases including the four in the court case. These cases were also reviewed by an independent surgeon, in May and June 2018.
In November 2018, Spire issued letters to the four telling them of concerns identified related to their care and treatment.
The CQC, which brought the prosecution, claimed Spire was aware that it was a notifiable safety incident at least several months before the letters were issued.
During the case the CQC said the patients did not get a prompt apology or an explanation and noted the hosptial had not been transparent about the situation.
In a statement sent to Health & Protection, Spire group clinical director Alison Dickinson said the group regretted that it missed opportunities to act promptly to inform the patients of failings in the care provided by Walsh at Spire Leeds.
“We investigated those incidents, apologised to the four patients, and offered each of them the opportunity to discuss their concerns, but we fully accept that we did not do this as promptly as we should have done,” she said.
“We fell short of the requirements regarding Duty of Candour as well as the high standards that we set for ourselves and that patients should be able to expect from us. We apologise again today to those four patients for the delay in notifying them and for the care they received in 2017/18.
“We have reflected carefully on the lessons we can learn and we have invested significantly in training, and strengthened our systems in our hospitals for ensuring that patients are informed when something goes wrong, in a transparent and timely way.”
Dickinson noted that the group was the CQC had recognised these improvements and rated Spire Leeds as ‘good,’ following its inspection in March 2020.
“We will continue to strive to be open and honest with patients in everything we do,” she added.