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Independent Healthcare Voices

Independent Healthcare Voices is a platform for healthcare and other industry leaders to share their views, observations and insight on the independent health sector and wider health and social care issues with the aim of sparking debates, spreading learning across the system and sharing solutions to tricky and common challenges facing local services.

Please note that all views expressed are those of the individual author, not of IHPN.

If you would like to discuss an idea for a blog or submit an article for consideration please email Megan Cleaver at [email protected]

Battle of the backlog - how can the NHS maximise use of the independent sector to bring down waiting lists?

Date of publication: 24th Jun 2022

Categories: Independent Healthcare Voices

The 1st April 2022 marked one year since the end of the national covid hospitals contract, and the move within the NHS to the ‘recovery’ phase of the pandemic response. The latest round of Referral to Treatment Time (RTT) data published by the NHS which is for April 2022 gives us a clear insight into the state of the recovery one year on, and whether the NHS’ aim of maximising the usage of independent sector capacity is being realised. Headline...

Speaking up for safer care

Date of publication: 29th Apr 2022

Categories: Independent Healthcare Voices

The ability of staff in the healthcare sector to speak up when they have concerns, and to have those concerns taken seriously, is of paramount importance not only for staff wellbeing, but also for patient safety. The recently published Ockenden Report and the inquiry into Paterson clearly illustrate this point. In the former, the inquiry into maternity services at the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust (SaTH) found many examples where staff were at best ignored when they raised concerns about...

Clearing the air – how healthcare providers can cut emissions from anaesthetic gases and inhalers

Date of publication: 22nd Apr 2022

Categories: Independent Healthcare Voices

Today, Earth Day 2022, is a good moment to reflect whether we are all doing what we can in the race to achieving net zero. The challenge is huge, particularly in healthcare, and the activities to reduce carbon footprint are wide ranging. But one particular area where healthcare providers can make a real difference in reducing their emissions is around the use of medicines, notably anaesthetic gases and inhalers. Medicines make up a large chunk of the emissions within healthcare,...

Changing the law on hymenoplasty - reflections from the independent expert panel

Date of publication: 2nd Mar 2022

Categories: Independent Healthcare Voices

Last month the government announced an amendment to the Health and Care Bill, based on the recommendation of an independent expert panel, that will make hymenoplasty illegal. IHPN's Director of Regulation, Dawn Hodgkins, was invited to join the independent expert panel and represent the independent sector in the discussions concerning a hymenoplasty ban -  a fascinating experience in seeing first-hand how policy on a complex healthcare issues (with significant ethical and legal ramifications) is developed. Hymenoplasty is a surgical procedure...

Time to take our temperature again…

Date of publication: 16th Feb 2022

Categories: Independent Healthcare Voices

Back in September 2021, IHPN produced an Industry Barometer which provided a snapshot of how our members view their current business environment. The questions focussed around four areas:  the market; relationships with the NHS, commissioners and systems; the impact of the coronavirus pandemic; and safety, quality and the workforce. The responses captured a moment in time and told a fascinating story of what the key issues are facing independent healthcare who deliver both NHS and privately funded services.  This all...

How can the independent sector play its role in NHS elective recovery?

Date of publication: 11th Feb 2022

Categories: Independent Healthcare Voices

It arrived several weeks later than initially planned due to Omicron and was prefixed in the days before launch with political tension over its scale of ambition, an issue which is likely to become even starker when the planned National Insurance rise kicks in this April, but finally on Tuesday of this week the government and the NHS launched their plan for tackling the Covid-19 backlog of elective care which has built up as a result of the pandemic. The...

The role of healthcare in tackling climate change - is the weather about to change?

Date of publication: 20th Dec 2021

Categories: Independent Healthcare Voices

Much has been written about climate change in the past few months as the great and the good converged on Glasgow in November for the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference. Many commentators more qualified than me have debated whether COP26 was a success or not and whether it delivered what it needed to. But regardless of your thoughts on this, what is clear is that organisations and industries need to be striving towards net zero sooner rather than later with...

Five key tips to improving workforce planning through data-driven rostering

Date of publication: 4th Nov 2021

Categories: Independent Healthcare Voices

Paul Walker, Chief Technical Officer at Skills for Health, looks at how data-driven rostering can help improve workforce planning The effective deployment of the workforce underpins all care services. The challenges of ensuring people are in the right roles, with the right skills, crucially at the right time, cannot be understated. To create flexible, sustainable services against the backdrop of the challenge to restore care services, meeting new demands and reducing elective backlogs, we must first understand how best to...

Should private providers sit on Integrated Care Boards?

Date of publication: 20th Sep 2021

Categories: Independent Healthcare Voices

Under the new Health and Care Bill working its way through Parliament, Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) will replace CCGs in planning and commissioning health care services in local areas. In a way that CCGs are not, ICBs will also be directly accountable for NHS spend and provider performance in their local area. The composition of ICBs is currently a matter of debate. And this debate matters because these Boards will have a really important job to do, both to meet...

IHPN marks third annual World Patient Safety Day

Date of publication: 17th Sep 2021

Categories: Independent Healthcare Voices

Patient safety remains the number one priority for independent healthcare providers, and IHPN are delighted to mark the third ever World Patient Safety Day – set up by the World Health Organisation to bring about global solidarity and concerted action to improve patient safety. Over the past few years the entire healthcare sector has seen a change in the approach and understanding of patient safety, with safety experts from across different industries coming together in the interests of patients and...