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NHS to Test Routine Collection of Private Hospital Data

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NHS Digital and the the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) have begun the testing phase of a programme that will see data on privately-funded care from independent hospitals collected by the NHS for the first time. PHIN is the independent, government-mandated source of information about private healthcare in the England.

If successful, the pilot will pave the way for a comprehensive national dataset of public and private hospital data in England, facilitating the production of ‘whole-practice’ information for doctors and hospitals providing both NHS and private care. The need for such information was highlighted by the Independent Inquiry into rogue breast surgeon Ian Paterson, who provided unsanctioned and unnecessary treatment to patients in both NHS and private hospitals.

The pilots are part of the Acute Data Alignment Programme (ADAPt), initiated by the Secretary of State for Health in 2018, and led jointly by NHS Digital, the information authority for the NHS in England, and PHIN, the government-mandated ‘information organisation’ for private healthcare. A public consultation held earlier this year saw overwhelming support for the programme from organisations representing both professionals and patients.

The ADAPt pilots will test the technical changes needed to transfer the collection of private admitted patient data from PHIN to NHS Digital. This data will be fed onto PHIN to facilitate the publication of whole-practice performance measures for hospitals and consultants offering private healthcare services, in line with the Private Healthcare Market Investigation Order 2014.

It is envisaged that the national dataset will be made available through the NHS Digital to regulators and public bodies to assist monitoring of safety and help drive service improvement.

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