Select Committee on Health Written Evidence

Memorandum by the Royal College of Physicians (PS 74)


  We are pleased to submit evidence to the above Inquiry. The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) plays a leading role in the delivery of high quality patient care by setting standards of medical practice and promoting clinical excellence. We provide physicians in the United Kingdom and overseas with education, training and support throughout their careers. As an independent body representing over 20,000 Fellows and Members worldwide, we advise and work with government, the public, patients and other professions to improve health and healthcare.

  The College has formal established contacts with the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) both directly and through the College's Joint Specialty Committees and their various chairs. This enables NPSA to gain rapid and specific advice on any current specialty safety issue. Recently, this has worked well in areas such as Respiratory, Renal, Gastroenterology, and Neurological medicine.

  The College is keen to develop further collaboration such that when medical specialists wish to raise particular safety concerns then they can take these to NPSA rapidly and in confidence. NPSA would then be able to investigate these by various means, including scanning of their National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) database.

  The Inquiry and this response will be raised at a forthcoming meeting of the College's Medical Specialties Board to discuss potential ways forward. If each specialty was to highlight high risk areas and provide appropriate evidence, this would be of most help to you. As the College represents nearly 30 medical specialties this would obviously be a reasonably sized project and require time to complete. If the Select Committee would be interested in this information, we would value early word as to, if and when, it might be considered.

  We hope you find this information useful to your inquiry.

September 2008

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