THE need for greater safeguards for patients in hospitals through the introduction of a recognised national standard of competence for health care professionals working in the life sciences industry has been pressed by HC Skills CEO Diane Irvine.
In an article written for MDET, the official quarterly journal of the National Association of Medical Device Educators, she highlights the fact that the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care had recently introduced a credentialing register.
Under the scheme, practitioners who are required to be present in patient-facing areas will have to verify that they belong to a register that meets the PSA’s benchmarks.
This will help safeguard patients and staff, by risk-managing access, improving infection control, ensuring that the right people have the right qualification and standard of training
to be in a hospital setting.
The article explains that commercial visitors such as medical device experts or administrative teams on hospital premises effectively become members of staff in the eyes of the law.
As a result, the hospital is potentially liable for their behaviour and actions, and the impact of these on the safety of staff and patients.
In admitting a patient, hospitals immediately take on a duty of care for that individual.
Medical negligence claims are valid when both of the following parameters are established:
When it comes to operating theatre protocols, for example, if a patient is harmed and it is established that the hospital failed to check whether the company representative who was present – effectively an employee – had undergone the appropriate training, then it is deemed a foreseeable risk that could have been avoided.
Therefore, the hospital is deemed liable.
And that liability can be running up colossal costs. The annual amount set aside for NHS negligence claims is now standing at £65 billion.
Negligence and liability are words that can sometimes lose their meaning – until a theoretical case becomes reality.
Effective risk management is essential to protect patients and healthcare providers. Therefore, policy compliance and national standards are important considerations that everyone should address.
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