Controversy Over Surgeons Sparks Concern About Adequate Insurance Cover

Following an investigation by The Royal College of Surgeons, a Midlands-based private hospital has suspended one of its surgeons and recalled 217 patients treated by him. Orthopaedic surgeon Mr Habib Rahman is alleged to have performed unnecessary shoulder surgery which was outside his area of expertise, at Solihull’s Spire Parkway Hospital.

This is the second scandal involving this hospital, following the media storm surrounding rogue surgeon Ian Paterson, who was jailed for 20 years in 2017 after carrying out breast cancer surgery on patients who did not need such surgery.

The Paterson case cost the Spire Group £27 million in damages. This time Spire claims that the latest scandal will not impact its finances, as Chief Executive Justin Ash, who joined Spire in 2017, increased indemnity insurance cover for the company. Spire says that it will defend claims made against it and that Mr Rahman’s cover should pay out for any damages.

Everyone hoped that the Paterson case was unique, but Spire’s response demonstrates that the medical sector is prepared for such aberrations. Patients rely on the skills and integrity of the medical practitioner treating them and few would question their surgeon before their treatment was complete and the results apparent.

It seems likely that this case, and the exposure in February 2020 of yet another surgeon seemingly delivering unnecessary or incorrect treatment at a Spire and Nuffield-run hospital in Leeds, will lead to greater scrutiny and appraisal of surgeons’ work in both NHS and private hospitals.

These cases show how private hospitals and medical practitioners can be held responsible for malpractice and negligence and why they should ensure that they have adequate insurance protection.

If those in authority at private hospitals are shown to have been culpable, by lack of action or oversight, in causing serious medical issues or even death, personal consequences could result, including being personally liable for damages and facing up to the possibility of a prison sentence.

To counter this, Directors & Officers Insurance for directors, managers and supervisors can be effective protection for those who make decisions or are in control of certain parts of such a business. This can protect personal finances and help pay for the defence in cases of legal action.

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

Medical negligence insurance should be in place for all medical professionals and some may need extra cover depending on their personal and professional circumstances.

It is always prudent to discuss your insurance requirements with an experienced insurance broker, who can tailor insurance protection to individuals and businesses, rather than offering standard packages that may not be appropriate. For more information and to find a broker, please contact us.