The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has warned two private hospitals about their failure to comply with The Private Healthcare Market Investigation Order, which supports patients’ access to information.
The CMA has written publicly to the two hospitals – Ulster Independent Clinic and Fortius Clinic – about their failure to provide data for publication on performance and patient outcomes. As a result, both hospitals have produced a plan to achieve compliance with the Order within six months. If they fail to fulfil this obligation the CMA will be able to take further enforcement action.
The information that has not been supplied, is needed by prospective patients so that they have the information they need to compare healthcare providers and consultants.
Under the CMA’s Private Healthcare Market Investigation Order 2015 (PHO), private hospitals must supply the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) with information about the treatment it has carried out for its patients so it can be published publicly. Having access to this information helps patients to compare which is the best private hospital for them.
The Fortius Clinic in London and the Ulster Independent Clinic in Belfast both failed to provide this data. This means that PHIN can not process and publish information related to patient care and outcomes. In addition, both have also failed to adequately resolve data issues that would support information on consultants at the clinic to be published.
David Stewart, executive director, markets and mergers at the CMA, said: “Choosing private healthcare is an important and, at times, difficult choice. So, it is vital that private hospitals empower customers, through PHIN, with the information to help them understand and select the best care for them and their families. Some hospitals are not doing this.
“Consultants must also provide their consultation and treatment fees for publication, and three-quarters have already done so… we are now ramping up enforcement action to ensure that the remaining hospitals and consultants that are breaking the rules will face the consequences, so patients don’t lose out.”
If necessary, the CMA can issue legally binding directions for non-compliance, or it could begin court action.
Last month an investigation by the CMA looked at UnitedHealth’s £1.2bn deal to buy EMIS, concluding that it could reduce competition leading to worse outcomes for the NHS, patients and UK taxpayers.