Quality and safety in the independent healthcare sector 2023

General Practice

Almost all general practices in England that treat NHS or privately funded patients are independent organisations. 

Contractual arrangements between independent general practices and the NHS have been in place since the 1940s, and it is possible to argue general practice has been one of the longest-standing and most successful public-private partnerships in the history of UK public services. 

While it makes little sense to draw arbitrary distinctions between different types of general practice based, for example, on contract-type with the NHS, we can look at general practices run by IHPN members. When we do this, we see that 95.7% of practices run by IHPN members are rated good or outstanding. No IHPN member practices are rated inadequate. 

More recently, there has been growth in the number of privately funded general practices, classed by the CQC as independent doctors. Because the healthcare they provide is quite different to NHS provision, comparative information is not available. 

959 independent doctors have been rated by the CQC of which 94% are good or outstanding. 

Sector Improvements 

IHPN has worked with members and the Independent Doctors Federation (IDF) to define a set of metrics that can be used to support CQC inspections as well as create opportunities for individual practices to benchmark their performance against other similar organisations. Over recent months a proof of concept has been achieved. IHPN and members are now committed to phase 2 of this activity which will continue throughout 2024. The CQC are involved in this work and highly supportive. 

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