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Call for greater transparency and safety at private hospitals

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The BBC are currently reporting on the safety of private hospitals following a report from the Centre for Health and Public Interest that estimated that around 6,000 patients a year are admitted from private to NHS hospitals of which 2,500 are emergency admissions. 

The report states that part of the problem is that private hospitals are not as large as NHS Trust hospitals and do not have the equipment and staff to deal with complications when they arise. They therefore often have to rely on the resources of NHS hospitals if problems occur following surgery.

In addition, private hospitals are not subject to as many reporting requirements as their NHS counterparts and are not required to report any serious incidents, such as patient injuries and deaths to the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS). The NRLS make information from NHS Trusts available to the public and also safety experts who, in turn, can make recommendations for improvements.

Private hospitals are, however, required to report safety incidents to the Care Quality Commission and Monitor but some providers of NHS services believe they should have the same reporting requirements as NHS Trusts. This will help provide further transparency and hopefully improve safety for patients when being cared for in the private sector.