The risks of private care… overstated?

In the Times 30th November 2015 Chris Smyth reports: Private hospitals ‘more dangerous than NHS’   and on the same page Helpline sends thousands of patients to A&E (presumably NHS) needlessly. It appears to NHSreality that the logic of the first headline is partly explained by the second….! In addition, the “waiting time” for regional health service investigation and treatment is not factored into the equation…., Speeding up the process is one of the private health system “goods”…. Rationing by co-payment is about to happen by a knee jerk response, and without the debate to gain social acceptance. Other methods of rationing, deserts based, income or asset related, etc will not get aired by our pathetic politicians….. So NHSreality is the black sheep? Remember the Perverse Incentive  is to over treat in private care, and undertreat in the Health Services…

Private hospitals are riskier than those run by NHS, a report has claimed.

Patients are not always assessed properly and some private hospitals do not monitor what happens after surgery, according to an analysis of official inspection reports. It demands ministers compel private hospitals to collect and publish the same data as the NHS.

Almost 200 patients a year die unexpectedly in private hospitals, which now treat half a million NHS patients a year and carry out one in five hip and knee replacements for the health service.

The Centre for Health and the Public Interest, a think tank sceptical of market mechanisms in the NHS, has previously criticised how private hospitals were run, pointing out that most had no intensive care beds and sometimes lack key medical cover.

It has now analysed findings from the first 15 private hospitals to be assessed by the Care Quality Commission’s beefed up inspection teams.

Seven of the hospitals did not monitor the results of surgery properly and six lacked proper assessments. The report warns: “Patient assessment is particularly important as most private hospitals do not have intensive care facilities or back-up specialist teams, and so are only supposed to admit low-risk patients.”

Two hospitals employed surgeons who could not show they had the necessary insurance in case of errors, while others did not collect adequate data on staffing ratios, readmission rates or serious mistakes.

Brian Toft, co-author of the report, said: “Not only do the safety issues that CHPI identified last year persist. In addition, the variable quality of the reports means that the true extent of the risk to patient safety in private hospitals is not known.

“This government has prioritised transparency as a key to safety: but although more and more NHS patients are being treated in private hospitals, there has been no concurrent commitment to bring private hospitals into the same transparency regime.”

The charity Action against Medical Accidents has previously warned that private hospitals’ safety protocols and investigations of problems are not as rigorous as those in the NHS, saying that the health service was left to “pick up the pieces” when things go wrong.

 

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This entry was posted in A Personal View, Perverse Incentives, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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