The private healthcare sector incorporates hospitals which
are part of large hospital groups such as BMI Healthcare, Spire Healthcare, Ramsay
Healthcare and Nuffield Health, small independent and charitable hospitals, private patient units located
within NHS Trust hospitals, and clinics providing services such as cosmetic
surgery and laser eye treatment.
In the UK, the assessment and regulation of all hospitals
and clinics involves organisations such as the Health and Safety Executive, and
the Care Quality Commission. You could
ask to see the hospital’s most recent inspection report by the Care Quality
Commission or visit the Care Quality Commission web site.
Ask about the hospital’s experience of your procedure. Some
specialise in particular types of surgery such as knee surgery or eye surgery.
Since not all independent hospitals have intensive care or high dependency
units on site it is very important to find out what is in place in case of an
emergency. If the hospital is located
within an NHS Trust hospital it will have access to intensive care units but if
it is a stand alone hospital check that the arrangements in place to transfer a
patient to a nearby NHS Trust hospital in case of emergency and/or an intensive
care unit (for people recovering after major surgery or if complications occur
after routine surgery).
You can ask about the
professional registration of the private hospital’s clinical staff and check
that this is up to date and that clinical staff and consultants are involved in
continuing professional development (CPD), a requirement of the regulatory
bodies. Or you may want to find out
whether the hospital records, monitors and evaluates all accidents, clinical
incidents and near misses.
Regarding cleanliness and safety, you can ask what the
post-operative infection rate at the clinic/hospital is. All hospitals should carry out basic
infection control surveillance and independent sector hospitals generally have
a low rate of hospital acquired infection.