The health select committee continued to hear evidence on the regulation of private and independent healthcare this month.
Amongst those submitting evidence were the British Medical Association (BMA), the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) the General Medical Council and the Medical Defence Union.
The RCN advocated that the implementation of an “integrated regulatory system that applied to all providers of healthcare outside the NHS would be likely to be more cost effective than separate systems for different sectors”.
The BMA said that, while it backed moves to regulate the independent sector, it was worried over relationships between insurers and private hospital managers.
“In private medicine, as in the NHS, the fundamental ‘contract’ is between doctor and patient,” said the BMA in its submission. “If, in the private sector, a `contract’ between doctor and insurer is to be superimposed, clinicians’ liability to each of the parties must be addressed, particularly where there is conflict.”
The insurance industry was positive about reactions, which were overwhelmingly supportive of regulation of private and independent healthcare, most arguing that the welfare of patients is imperative, wherever they are treated.
“The focus is on the private hospital sector and the insurance industry is definitely involved.” said Gillian Gibbon, public relations manager at Prime Health “The same messages are coming through. The independent sector is calling for a regulatory body and everyone is behind it.”