Spire Healthcare court case verdict

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The Care Quality Commission (CQC), the health and social care regulator in the UK, has recently taken Spire Healthcare to court over the provider’s reported failure to be transparent with patients about failures in the surgical procedures they received. The Spire Healthcare court case is understood to have found that the independent health firm delayed notification letters to patients affected by the allegations of negligent treatment by Michael Walsh, a surgeon who formerly worked at Spire Hospital Leeds.

The hearing at Leeds Magistrate Court in April led to Spire Healthcare being fined £5,000, as well as being instructed to pay almost £15,000 in court costs. The firm admitted to failing to contact patients in an appropriate timeframe.

Where potential medical negligence is concerned, it is important that patients are informed from the beginning. By neglecting to inform patients at an early stage, healthcare providers could contribute to a further decline in their health or subject them to more prolonged pain.

The reported failures in treatment by Michael Walsh

Until he was suspended in 2018, Michael Walsh worked at Spire Healthcare for a number of years as an upper limb orthopaedic consultant. In this capacity, he conducted surgical procedures on patients, some of which have since reportedly been found to have harmed patients. As a result, affected patients have suffered pain and some have required surgery to repair the alleged damage done.

The recent Spire Healthcare court case concerned four of the affected patients. While it was not related to the alleged medical negligence they may have suffered, it did examine how they were treated in the wake of the concerns raised about Walsh’s treatment.

The responsibility of Spire Healthcare

Abiding by its duty to investigate potential medical negligence, Spire Healthcare began to look into several of Walsh’s cases after concerns were raised by other medical professionals and NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group. However, the Spire Healthcare court case found that the firm unnecessarily delayed notifying patients of the potential failures in their treatment for several months.

In particular, CQC stated that Spire Healthcare failed to comply with the “duty of candour” regulation, which necessitates that healthcare providers are honest with their patients. Spire Healthcare itself is understood to have admitted that it had failed to meet this requirement.

Spire Healthcare has stated that it has now improved its training for staff and has strengthened the systems in place for supporting patients who have been affected by potentially harmful treatment.

Duty of care and medical negligence

Spire Healthcare may not have been directly responsible for Michael Walsh’s failings, but the organisation as a whole owed a duty of care to its patients which it failed to fulfil. To us, the Spire Healthcare court case demonstrates that the CQC can and will hold healthcare providers to account where necessary.

If you believe that the negligence of a healthcare organisation or a medical professional has caused you undue harm, you may be eligible for a medical negligence claim. Our expert lawyers have been representing victims of medical negligence for many years, so if you would like to receive free, bespoke advice, you can contact us for a no-obligation discussion of your potential claim.

The content of this post/page was considered accurate at the time of the original posting and/or at the time of any posted revision. The content of this page may, therefore, be out of date. The information contained within this page does not constitute legal advice. Any reliance you place on the information contained within this page is done so at your own risk.

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