By Olive Carterton
The Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN) is celebrating a significant landmark after welcoming its 100th member.
Now it has its eyes on a new goal – to double the number of independent healthcare companies it represents.
Chief executive David Hare said the organisation was proud to have a more diverse membership than ever before.
These include providers of hospitals, community services, diagnostics, mobile operators, insourcing and primary care.
He said: ‘We have a huge variety of scale of members too – from FTSE-listed, to small specialist companies – all of whom are making a real difference, supporting or delivering high-quality patient care.’
Mr Hare believes one of IHPN’s strengths has been recognising and celebrating the needs and differences of members to provide appropriate support at both a sector-wide and very specific level.
‘I believe we’ve done a good job at adapting and welcoming members and recognising the need for particular support – or where smaller groups of members or interested parties can get benefit from talking together or sharing common goals.
‘I still believe passionately that we are definitely stronger united than divided.’
The IHPN has built up an active and well-established group of ophthalmology service providers, and a newer group for companies focusing on ‘insourcing’ – a different way of providing staffing solutions, supporting the NHS to deliver theatre lists in their own facilities.
Quality and safety
Reflecting on members’ efforts and successes, Mr Hare said: ‘The things which stand out the most are the way that we and members have put so much time and effort into improving the sector’s quality and safety.
‘Over 90% of independent hospitals, and 91% of independent community health providers have “Good” or “Outstanding” overall ratings from the health and care regulator, the Care Quality Commission.
‘There is definitely more to do. But this is a strong indication that the general standards of care and patient safety in the private sector are higher than they have ever been.
‘Additionally, I think the support the sector gave to the NHS during the pandemic is also something we can collectively be hugely proud of.
‘Thousands of independent sector staff worked bravely and heroically alongside their NHS counterparts during a period of national crisis, and the response and co-ordination of a donation of one million items to Ukraine at the start of the war is another highlight.’
The 100th company to join IHPN is EndoCare Diagnostics, an independent provider delivering endoscope services in Manchester.
Jamie Marsh, its head of compliance and resilience, said: ‘As a young organisation, we were finding ourselves isolated and disconnected from national conversations and found it difficult to be kept up to date with any latest developments.
‘Since becoming a member, we’ve been very impressed with the service provided by the IHPN. We have received daily update briefings and been invited to a series of meetings both at a local and national footprint. I feel confident now that we have a sufficient support network of over 100 members we can connect into.’
Mr Hare added: ‘The future of the independent health sector looks bright. The sector is well-placed to continue to grow and to play a leading role in the delivery of healthcare in the UK.
‘The IHPN is committed to supporting the sector’s growth, and to ensuring that the independent sector has a strong voice in the development of healthcare policy. Here’s to the next 100 members.’