Excellence on film

Private practice is getting some healthy publicity thanks to co-operation between the Association of Independent Healthcare Organisations (AIHO) and ITN productions. Fiona Booth reports

AIHO tvAIHO is delighted to have partnered with ITN Productions over the course of the past year to create a new programme about independent healthcare.

Independent Healthcare Focus is an in-depth look at a number of aspects of the role and contribution of independent providers to the UK’s healthcare economy.

There are a lot of misconceptions about independent healthcare and we wanted to address these by demonstrating the diversity of providers in the sector and the innovative care they provide.

As the programme clearly shows, our patients are not just the very wealthy or those who are insured.

And the sector offers a range of services to NHS patients. Independent healthcare and a system of care that is free at the point of need can, and do, work very well together.

Naturally, an in-depth programme about any sector can come with challenges as well as opportunities.

However, having seen a similar programme about another trade body, we quickly agreed that it would act as a useful and important showcase for the diversity and impact of the sector.

Impressive film-making

We were also impressed by the high quality of ITN Productions’ film-making, and its willingness to meet with representatives from across the sector and to gain a deep insight into its workings, and how it differs from the NHS.

We hope that this insight is reflected in the quality of the different films that make up the programme. We were delighted that ITN presenter Natasha Kaplinsky introduced the programme as well as conducting an interview with myself and providing the links between each of the films.

As well as the important, high-quality services the independent sector provides, we also wanted to inform people about the innovative practices and technologies currently being pioneered by teams at independent hospitals.

This is an area that is perhaps less widely known, but it is a crucial part of the independent sector’s work and Independent Healthcare Focus offers a fantastic insight into this activity.

For example, we see the exciting work that Prof Prokar Dasgupta is doing with robotic keyhole surgery, as well as the ground-breaking techniques the sector is developing to transform the way we care for patients with dementia.

Quality and patient safety and satisfaction are at the heart of all care provided by the independent sector and we were very pleased that ITN Productions were able to speak with some patients that have experienced this type of care.

The Care Quality Commission’s chief inspector of hospitals, Prof Sir Mike Richards, rightly highlights in the programme that the CQC is absolutely committed to transparency and having a level playing field for hospital inspections, whether they be NHS or independent sector.

This means that patients can be certain that the care they receive from an independent provider is of the highest quality.

Key players

Senior producer at ITN Prod­uctions, Elizabeth Fisher-Robins, has worked hard with us to achieve this successful programme. She says: ‘It has been great getting to know and understand the quality services the independent healthcare sector provides and the role it plays in the wider health sector.

‘We hope that Independent Healthcare Focus will give viewers a real insight into this sector. We were particularly pleased to secure the involvement of some key health sector stakeholders like Stephen Dorrell MP, former chair man of the Commons’ Health Select Committee, as well as Prof Sir Mike Richards.’

At AIHO, we hope that viewers will agree that we have managed to profile a great diversity of independent providers, showcasing the latest innovations and first-class care they offer.

We hope that as many people as possible will watch the programme on the AIHO website for an in-depth look at how the sector works.

Ultimately, we want to give patients confidence in the care the sector offers and to help people understand the real contribution independent healthcare makes both to supporting the NHS and the wider UK economy.

Fiona Booth is chief executive of the Association of Independent Health­care Organisations (AIHO)