The company that runs a private hospital in Leeds has been fined £5,000 by the health watchdog today - in the first prosecution of its kind.
The Care Quality Commission fined Spire Healthcare for failing to inform four patients quickly enough that there were concerns about the treatment provided by orthopaedic consultant Mike Walsh - at the Spire Leeds Hospital.
District Judge Susan Bouch heard how Mr Walsh was suspended after concerns were raised about his work at the private hospital by a fellow doctor, physiotherapists and the local clinical commissioning group in 2017.
Spire Healthcare said last year that it had reviewed the treatment of Mr Walsh's patients and "fewer than 50" had been invited back for a follow-up appointment.
However, the hospital admitted failing to notify the four patients "as soon as was reasonably practicable" about concerns over Mr Walsh's work.
The company said they have reflected on the lessons they can learn and have invested significantly in training.
Sarah Dronsfield, CQC’s head of hospital inspection, said: "All care providers have a duty to be open and transparent with patients and their loved ones, particularly when something goes wrong, and this case sends a clear message that we will not hesitate to take action when that does not happen.
Alison Dickinson, Group Clinical Director at Spire Healthcare, said: "We regret that we missed opportunities to act promptly to inform four patients of failings in the care provided by their consultant, Mike Walsh, who held practising privileges at Spire Leeds until his suspension in April 2018.
"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."