By Robin Stride
New data on outcomes of consultants’ treatments in private practice, due next month, will help the sector identify possible trends and areas for improvement.
It will cover the quarter July-September 2019 and follows publication late last year of the first batch of ground-breaking information released by the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN).
This greater transparency should enable patients to have more informed conversations with their consultant and hospital about their likely outcomes, according to the PHIN’s chairman.
Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen said the information so far, available for the first time in the UK and covering over 100 independent hospitals and NHS private patient units (PPUs), would also help evaluate potential infection risks at 282 venues.
He added: ‘I’m particularly delighted that we are starting to see clearer evidence of the positive impact of treatment for private patients.
‘Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) not only provide reassurance about the quality of services, but also help specialists to confirm what matters to their patients before treatment and measure how treatment has met those needs following treatment.’
PHIN’s first publication last December, somewhat submerged by General Election publicity, revealed 98.8% of private patients seen in an independent hospital or PPU reported improved health following hip surgery. 95.3% of private patients said they had better health following private knee surgery.
Infection risk data draws on information from an estimated 85% of privately-funded admitted patients across the UK.
PHIN said: ‘While it is not yet possible to draw meaningful comparison between individual hospitals, PHIN has published a guide to help patients understand what infection rates at different hospitals could mean for their care, along with questions they should ask their provider before treatment.’
The infections data, covering the period 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019, shows:
305 reported healthcare associated infections (HCAI) in the year across 1.4m ‘bed days’ of care – the basis of comparison used by NHS authorities. These are serious infections such as MRSA bacteraemia;
E.coli is the most common healthcare-associated infection reported in private healthcare, with an overall rate of 9.3 in 100,000 bed days;
58 reported surgical site infections (SSIs) across 28,900 patients undergoing hip and knee replacement procedures;
Privately funded patients having hip or knee replacement surgery had a 0.2% risk of developing an SSI.
The Care Quality Commission’s chief inspector of hospitals, Prof Ted Baker, said: ‘It is important that all clinical services monitor their outcomes and compare them with what should be expected.
‘Patients should have access to this information so that they can make informed choices about their care and treatment and we welcome the increased transparency that this data provides.’
Data publication follows a 2014 investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which criticised a lack of information about quality, safety and price for patients considering private treatment in the UK.
CMA director Susannah Meeke called the new statistics ‘useful information about the quality of services’.
She added: ‘This is an important step towards what the CMA required following its market study, which found that people needed easily accessible information online to weigh up the performance of hospitals against the cost of treatment.’
David Hare, chief executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network, said the figures demonstrated the high-quality care found across the independent hospital sector, with providers delivering excellent outcomes for patients.
‘Having meaningful information such as PROMS data at their fingertips is key in enabling patients to make more informed decisions about where to receive their care and we welcome PHIN’s work in this area.’
- See ‘Sharing outcomes’