Is Private Healthcare safe?

In December last year we asked that question  – see the answer: “Yes – but more needs to be done to ensure consistency nationwide!”  (lower down this page)

But now:

The Private Patients’ Forum demands full compliance on patient safety and clinical governance in all private hospitals

The Private Patients’ Forum (PPF) is calling on the owners and managers of all private hospitals and clinics to protect patients by ensuring the highest standards of clinical governance and safety in their facilities.

The latest Care Quality Commission report on the sector follows the jailing of the disgraced former surgeon, Ian Paterson.  The report shows that almost a third of the 206 private hospitals inspected ‘required improvement’.

Safety was the biggest concern of the CQC. The regulator said in its press release:  “Safety was where CQC had the greatest concerns – 41% of hospitals were rated as ‘requires improvement’ and 1% as ‘inadequate’ in this area. Also, 30% of hospitals were rated as ‘requires improvement’ and 3% as ‘inadequate’ for how well-led they were.”

Ted Baker, the Chief Inspector for Hospitals at the CQC said, Too often, safety was viewed as the responsibility of individual clinicians, rather than a corporate responsibility supported by formal governance processes. “

The PPF notes that around half of those hospitals designated by the CQC as ‘requires improvement’ have now been found by the regulator to have raised their standards. However, the PPF still considers this to be unacceptable for patients and demands that providers take immediate steps to bring standards up to those practised in the majority of independent hospitals across the country

A spokesperson for the PPF said, “Clinical governance regulation has been in place across the health sector for years now and every patient has the right to expect the highest standards of safety and care.  Nothing less is acceptable.”

“The PPF calls on all hospital owners and managers to ensure sufficient expertise is always available to guarantee the highest standards of clinical governance and safety of patients.  We also call on doctors and other health professionals to demand action immediately if they see standards slipping.

“We encourage any patient or patient’s relative, to report concerns to their consultant and the hospital management. If an issue is not resolved then patients should contact the CQC and tell the PPF about their experiences too.

“Patients will soon benefit from the detailed data on treatment success rates being collected and published by PHIN (the Private Healthcare Information Network.) This will improve transparency and expose data showing the actual performance of both hospitals and doctors. In turn, it will enable patients to make better choices and encourage every provider to offer the best quality of care and service.”

To see the full CQC report please visit:

You can search the CQC site for individual hospital reports which will help you make your choice of hospital.



Here is what PPF was calling for four months ago in answer to the question ‘Is Private Healthcare safe?”:

 Yes – but more needs to be done to ensure consistency nationwide!

Above all else, the well-being and safety of patients is the most important issue for the Private Patients’ Forum (PPF).

It’s why we came together some years ago to represent the interests of patients and potential patients. We wanted to help people choose the best options for themselves and their family; to get the best out of private healthcare and we wanted to help patients resolve matters, if something did go wrong.

After all, every patient has the right to expect that, wherever they are treated, in a private hospital or a private patient unit in an NHS hospital, they should receive the best possible and safe care.

The safety of the private sector and the NHS is frequently and properly examined by the media, especially so, when on a rare occasion, a doctor or hospital faces legal action because a patient or patients have been harmed.

Accidents and especially cases where patients are harmed deliberately or through carelessness, are extremely rare and becoming more so but human frailty means there is no such thing as ‘never again’!

Let us make it completely plain up front: The PPF utterly condemns any doctor, healthcare professional, or hospital manager who deliberately causes harm to a patient or those who harm a patient by accident and then try to cover up or refuse to accept responsibility for their actions.

Read more about this by clicking here




Getting an even better private healthcare experience:

A highly respected Think Tank is conducting some market research into patients’ experiences of  private healthcare in the UK. Please help by completing their straightforward survey. It will make a difference and is something that we at PPF very much support. Click here to reach the survey.

Exciting developments at PPF:

PPF is reaching more and more people as our website stats show. That’s encouraging but we need to do more to become even more effective as the  Patient Voice in the private healthcare sector. We have developed a new model of funding and are now making progress towards our goal – refreshing both the style and the information on our website and expanding our social media reach.

So, please keep communicating with us – preferably through the Forum -whilst we work on the next phase for PPF. When we are there, we will be asking for help from people who have used private healthcare, from people with medical insurance who haven’t used it and from others with a possible interest in ‘going private’. We have some exciting plans to include opportunities for participation in discussions to help shape private healthcare.

PPF – why we have this website

Because we believe that private medicine is an important option, we have packed this site with information ranging from how to choose private healthcare insurance, how to choose a consultant and a hospital.  You may like to look at video that tells some of the advantages of using the private sector – click here. Do let PPF know if we can provide other information that will help you to now more about private healthcare. Have a look at our sections on your rights as a patient and information on how to complain.

Become an Individual Member and help us by telling us how we can provide a better service to Private Patients.  Tell us about your experiences – we need these to help us make a difference for private patients. Click here to go to a page where we will soon have surveys to enable you to tell us your experiences.

Keeping you up-to-date with news

The Competition & Markets Authority  has been doing some very useful work in its Private healthcare market investigation.  There is a wealth of stuff to read on its site including, of course, the submissions made by this forum.  We have brought quite a bit together on a new page which you can reach by clicking here.


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