The health select committee for the regulation of private and independent healthcare has advocated that a separate body should regulate the private and independent sector.
The committee recommended that a specific body, responsible to government, be established to improve and maintain standards in private healthcare. It advised that the body should be a nationwide organisation but that it should operate on a regional basis.
It also advocated that the body should be informed by the Commission for Health Improvement, National Institute for Clinical Excellence and the Mental Health Act, which are all used for the regulation of the NHS.
It was decided that the cost of the regulatory body should be funded in full by the private sector. If the NHS has to treat any mistakes made by the private sector, it should be able to reclaim costs.
A comprehensive complaints procedure should be implemented for which providers of private and independent healthcare should be legally responsible.
PPP healthcare said it welcomed the announcement and added that it was “pleased to see that many of the committee’s recommendations mirror those that we made in our submission”.
These included the establishment of core standards for private hospitals and the implementation of a complaints procedure.
But PPP said it was “disappointed” that the committee advocated a separate organisation to regulate the private sector to that for the NHS.
Prior to the publication of the committee’s findings, secretary of state for health, Frank Dobson, had stated publicly that he supported the option of two separate regulatory bodies for the public and private sectors.
Christopher Malla, a solicitor at Kennedy’s Healthcare Department, said that the industry was enthusiastic about the decision.
He said that his clients “appreciate and welcome the emphasis on quality control and believe this will enhance moves already afoot in the private and voluntary sector to ensure that consistently high standards of care are maintained.”