Quality and safety in the independent healthcare sector 2023

Overall Quality of Care

Key Points

The CQC rates the overall quality of care at healthcare providers in England as well as assessing individual domains of quality and specialist services. 

From this we see that the sector is doing well where broadly comparable data are available. We also see improvements in the performance of the sector over recent years, and where there is still scope for improvement. 

Hospital services 

  • 92% of independent sector hospitals (non-specialist) are rated overall good or outstanding by the CQC compared to 52% of NHS hospitals 
  • This is a significant improvement since 2018 when around 70% of independent sector hospitals (non-specialist) were rated overall good or outstanding 

Core services across independent providers 

  • Core services have also improved with 88% of core services run by independent providers rated good or outstanding compared to 75% in 2018. 

Children and Young People’s services 

  • In 2018, the CQC highlighted the need to improve Children and Young People’s services run by independent providers. At that point 37 providers had ratings, of which 1 was rated inadequate and 14 required improvement (40% in total). 
  • There are now 65 independent providers with ratings for this service area, 87% of which are good or outstanding 

Specific services 

  • 85% of independent locations rated for diagnostic imaging services are good or outstanding 
  • 92% of independent community healthcare locations are rated good or outstanding 
  • 94% of independent doctors rated by the CQC are good or outstanding 

Improvement initiatives 

The rate of improvement over recent years illustrates the sector’s commitment to improvement. Ongoing initiatives to improve quality include: 

  • Medical Practitioners Assurance Framework (MPAF) – an initiative launched by IHPN, its members and stakeholders to support improvement, consistency, and transparency in the oversight of medical practitioners working in the independent sector 
  • Private general practice metrics – a project to define, collect and benchmark key measures to gauge and improve quality in private primary care 



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