As required by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), our membership is made up of hospitals providing privately funded healthcare, including many NHS hospitals. We are engaged with over 300 hospitals groups covering more than 500 private healthcare facilities in the UK that are subject to the CMA’s Order and required to become PHIN members.
Working with members
Members are responsible for submitting data on every privately funded patient episode at their facility. Their data will enable us to publish a range of performance measures by procedure at hospital and consultant level.
Members check that the data submitted is complete and in the required format. We then work with them to identify any issues or improve the data quality to ensure that it accurately reflects the services provided to patients.
Our aim initially is to enable members to achieve CMA compliance, but over the next five years we plan to use our information to generate valuable insights for hospitals, enabling them to better understand their market and improve their services to patients and purchasers.
Working with consultants
While consultants will not be members, they have a number of responsibilities under the CMA’s Order. In relation to PHIN, consultants are to submit information about professional fees (Article 22.1). Since January 2019, PHIN has been engaging with consultants to collect consultation and procedure fees. These will be published on the website from the end of April.
On performance measures, there are two principal ways we are working with consultants:
- Continuing to engage with individual consultants to review and sign-off their performance information for publication on our website
- Professional engagement with specialty associations and societies to ensure the performance measures are fair
We have engaged with around 15,000 consultants active in private practice as “referring clinicians” (the consultant admitting the patient for treatment and responsible for their care), across 15 main specialties. We have sought to raise awareness of PHIN and help them understand the CMA’s requirements and their obligations. We have also provided consultants with access to an online portal where they can review data that has been submitted by hospitals about their practice and highlight any data quality issues. Consultants can then sign off their information as a fair and accurate representation of their practice before it is published for patients.
In all our engagement with consultants, we are making every effort to work in a way that builds trust, from the presence of several recognised doctors on our board to communications and engagement that provides ample information and encourages consultants to ask questions.
We will continue to engage with the medical profession through representative and professional associations. Taking the lead on this is the Federation of Independent Practitioner Organisations (FIPO), which in turn maintains strong links to other representative organisations including the British Medical Association (BMA), Independent Doctors Federation (IDF), Federation of Specialist Surgical Associations (FSSA), and specialty organisations such as the British Orthopaedic Association (BOA) and the British Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS).
FIPO has convened a Clinical Outcomes Advisory Group (FIPO-COAG) to look at the issues around measuring and reporting clinical outcomes in private practice and to advise us on how the performance measures required by the CMA can best be implemented and help patients. Their approach will need to be specific to each specialty.
Participation with insurers and patients
We have established strong relationships with the larger private medical insurers and with patient representatives. However, in accordance with the CMA requirements and our wish to serve the wider private healthcare sector, in the future we will seek to extend membership to private medical insurers and organisations representing patients.