Quality and safety in the independent healthcare sector 2023

Outcome Measures, Audits and Registries 

Independent providers now submit more data to audits and registries than ever before. We collect and publish outcome measures, such as PROMs both NHS patients and for privately funded care, and are working towards increased visibility across a range of further measures. 

For example: 

  • We listen to our patients, collecting and publishing information about patient satisfaction measures such as the Friends and Family Test for both NHS and privately-funded patients. 

  • For NHS patients, independent providers collect Patient Reported Outcomes Measures (PROMs) for hip and knee procedures alongside NHS organisations. 

  • For private patients we collect and publish PROMs information for hip, knee and cataract procedures via the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN). 

  • Independent providers submit outcomes data to the National Ophthalmology Database on outcomes for cataract surgery, both for NHS and privately funded patients. 

  • More data is now submitted to the National Joint Registry by independent providers than by NHS organisations. 

  • A greater proportion of in-scope independent sector providers are accredited by the Joint Advisory Group on GI Endoscopy (JAG) than NHS organisations.

  • Independent providers submit data about all breast implant procedures completed in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland to the Breast and Cosmetic Implant Registry (BCIR). 

Across all these areas we see that the sector performs well and within expected ranges where data is available to support those conclusions. 

However, we are not complacent. There are areas where more information can and should be collected. For example: 

  • Selection criteria mean that independent providers cannot submit data to all relevant audits than by the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcome. Programme (NCAPOP), though we are optimistic that progress can be made in this area. IHPN will continue to work with HQIP and others to reduce barriers to submission. 

  • IHPN is leading a project to collect and benchmark data in private primary care. 

  • Further work needs to be done to define and understand appropriate measures that apply to community services. 

More generally, we see a need for more consistency in the way that quality, safety and outcome data is collected. That is why we have welcomed initiatives such as NHS England’s Outcomes and Registries Platform through which independent providers will be able to submit data alongside their NHS peers. We look forward to continuing our work with NHS England on that initiative to support participation by independent providers. 

Similarly, we recognise the significant work carried out by providers and PHIN to collect and disseminate information about privately funded acute activity, which is already enabling greater visibility of the services provided by the sector. We look forward to data flowing from private activity into a single dataset via the Acute Data Alignment Project (ADAPt) which will ultimately support a common view of the whole of UK healthcare. 

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