The Association of Independent Healthcare Organisations (AIHO) and the NHS Partners Network (NHSPN) have today announced that from 1st June 2018 NHSPN will lead on representation of the independent healthcare sector.
The move reflects the fact operators in the market wish to see industry representation cover all parts of independent sector service delivery including both NHS-funded and privately-funded services.
Traditionally both organisations represented two clearly defined areas of independent healthcare provision, namely NHS and privately-funded healthcare: AIHO was the trade association representing hospital members delivering privately-funded healthcare services; and NHSPN was the trade body for independent providers of NHS-funded services covering a range of sectors from acute to primary and community care as well as diagnostics and clinical home healthcare.
As the healthcare economy has developed over recent years however there has been a significant increase in the number of independent healthcare organisations simultaneously delivering services for NHS patients and for private patients.
In the view of the industry this makes the time right for creating a single entity for the independent healthcare sector covering all parts of the market offering a stronger, united voice on behalf of the industry, which will help ensure patients receive the highest possible standard of care no matter how it has been accessed.
The newly expanded NHS Partners Network, which will remain part of the NHS Confederation group, will begin representing the interests of the entirety of the independent healthcare sector from 1st June 2018.
Des Shiels, chair of AIHO, said: "As a membership organisation, it is vital everything we do reflects our members’ needs and changes with them. As most of our members now deliver both NHS-funded and privately-funded services it makes absolute sense for there to be a single organisation working to represent their interests."
Jim Easton, chair of NHSPN, said: "The independent sector in the UK provides health care for millions of patients each year whether funded by the NHS or privately. In doing this the sector works as a key partner to NHS providers and commissioners, as well as on a stand-alone basis, innovating to provide better health care.
"At the same time people are rightly becoming ever more demanding about the quality of care they receive and the time it takes to receive it. Now is the time to create a single organisation for the independent healthcare sector capable of speaking up for its members and ensuring that the safety, quality and efficacy of the work delivered by independent healthcare organisations can be accessed by as many people as possible, however those services are funded."