Consultants’ fee publication drive falters

Ambitious plans to make all private consultants’ fees available for patients to see on one website are not going ahead as fast as hoped.

The Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) has a mission to produce ‘great information about private healthcare’ and see that this is used as widely as possible – but less than a third of consultants with a private practice are currently featured.

More effort is now going to be put into trying to get specialists to participate. 

PHIN chief executive Matt James told a meeting of members of the organisation – hospitals providing privately funded healthcare and including many NHS hospitals – that there was a long road ahead.

A key aim of PHIN was to give information about fees and prices and to consider how it could produce meaningful, relevant information to patients.

But he added: ‘We certainly need to look at things like the rate of consultant participation, acknowledging that, while it’s fantastic that we’ve got over 6,000 consultants signed up providing their fees and getting on for 3,000 having signed up for performance measures – which is more than there has ever been previously – that leaves us an awfully long way to go and currently the rate of increase is slow. 

‘So we will definitely need to look at new ways to address that.’

PHIN’s plan for the next five years is to publish data to help patients understand their options, risks and costs when choosing their healthcare professionals and providers.

This would also be used by healthcare professionals, providers and regulators ‘to continually improve and monitor care’.