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New information on infections and health improvement published for patients considering private healthcare

London, 16 December: Today the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) has published new information about health outcomes and risk of infections for privately funded patient healthcare in the UK. 
According to the data 98.8% of private patients treated either in an independent hospital or NHS Private Patient Unit reported improvement in their health following hip replacement surgery, while 95.3% of private patients reported improved health following private knee surgery.  

This is the first time that information on health outcomes has been published for patients receiving privately-funded care in the UK, covering over 100 independent hospitals and NHS Private Patient Units. 
Patients can also now get a clearer understanding of their risk of infection at 282 independent hospitals and NHS Private Patient Units, accounting for an estimated 85% of privately funded admitted patient care across the UK. 
While it is not yet possible to draw meaningful comparison between individual hospitals, PHIN has published a guide to help patients understand what infection rates at different hospitals could mean for their care along with questions they should ask their care provider before treatment. 

The infections data, covering the period 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019, show: 
  • 305 reported Healthcare Associated Infections (HCAI) in the year across 1.4 million “bed days” of care (the basis of comparison used by NHS authorities). These are serious infections such as MRSA bacteraemia. 
  • E.coli is the most common healthcare-associated infection reported in private healthcare, with an overall rate of 9.3 in 100,000 bed days.
  • 58 reported Surgical Site Infections (SSI) across 28,900 patients undergoing hip and knee replacement procedures. 
  • Privately-funded patients having hip or knee replacement surgery had a 0.2% risk of developing a SSI. 
Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen, Chair of PHIN said:  
“Thanks to the information published today, patients have access to better information about private healthcare, and can have more informed conversations with their consultant and hospital about both their likely outcomes, and their potential risk of developing an infection. 
“I’m particularly delighted that we are starting to see clearer evidence of the positive impact of treatment for private patients. Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) not only provide reassurance about the quality of services, but also help specialists to confirm what matters to their patients before treatment, and measure how treatment has met those needs following treatment.” 
Much of the information published by PHIN today is new and adds to the wealth of information already published about healthcare in the UK, which often focuses on NHS funded healthcare. A detailed view of both datasets is available for download to help public bodies, researchers, clinicians and hospitals better understand and analyse services to private patients in the UK. 
The Care Quality Commission’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, said: 
“It is important that all clinical services monitor their outcomes and compare them with what should be expected. Patients should have access to this information so that they can make informed choices about their care and treatment and we welcome the increased transparency that this data provides.”

The publication of this information follows a 2014 investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which found there was a lack of information about quality, safety and price for patients considering private treatment in the UK. 

CMA Director Susannah Meeke said:

“PHIN’s publication of statistics on patient safety in private hospitals gives people access to useful information about the quality of services. This is an important step towards what the CMA required following its market study, which found that people needed easily accessible information online to weigh up the performance of hospitals against the cost of treatment.”