The first of a series of private hospital performance measures has been published with the intention of bringing standards of data quality, transparency and reporting in line with the NHS.
Patients will, for the first time, be able to find “independent and credible” information on hospitals when considering private care options, according to the Private Healthcare Information Network.
“The information we are publishing today represents a significant step”
The three performance measures published today on the network’s website cover 149 common procedures at over 200 hospitals.
They show the number of patient admissions, average lengths of stay for each procedure, and the same patient satisfaction measure for hospitals as used by the NHS – the “friends and family test”.
These new measures will be added to existing information on the website, including up-to-date inspection ratings from the Care Quality Commission.
All providers of private healthcare in the UK, including most NHS hospitals, are required by law to submit data to the network, which is an independent not-for-profit organisation.
Network chief executive Matt James said: “The information we are publishing today represents a significant step towards greater transparency in private healthcare.
“This is the first comprehensive attempt to measure the activity and performance of private healthcare across the UK to NHS standards,” he said.
The initiative would “encourage care providers to better understand the quality of their care and strive for improvement”, said Mr James.
The network estimates that the information published today covers over 80% of privately funded healthcare in the UK.
The performance measures are the first three of eleven specified by the UK’s competition regulator the Competition and Markets Authority.
The move was sparked by a CMA investigation in 2014, which identified a lack of transparency for consumers in private healthcare.
Further data will be released over the next 12 months, including on infection rates, rates of adverse incidents and measures of the relative health improvement offered by key treatments.
Performance measure data for individual consultants will follow in 2018, and fee information from 2019.
Mr Geoffrey Glazer, chair of the Federation of Independent Practitioner Organisations, said: “Publication of these first measures for hospitals is an important step.”