Data chief tries to reassure about accuracy of figures

The boss of the new data body appointed by the Competition and Markets Authority to police publication of better information for private patients has tried to allay consultants’ fears about accuracy.

Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) chief Matt James (right) said private doctors were being positive about the opportunity to better demonstrate their quality, but they had concerns about the accuracy of information and how it will be produced and used.

But he promised: ‘We will work with consultants via their professional associations and hospital operators, taking a measured approach that will lead to the right outcome. We are confident that this will work well for consultants.’

PHIN, as expected, will have the job of ensuring patients can compare and choose between consultants and hospitals by 2017.

Independent hospitals and private patient units will have to provide it with comprehensive data from 2016 to enable publication of comparative performance measures for hospitals and specialists.

These include activity levels, length of stay, patient satisfaction, and rates of unplanned re-admission. PHIN will not get personal data such as patients’ names or birth dates.

The CMA will nominate two non-executive directors to join PHIN’s board. Others representing consultants and insurers will be invited to sit alongside directors representing hospitals and patients.