Independent sector healthcare providers

GIRFT pilot review of the independent sector

The independent sector is a major part of the English healthcare system and its providers deliver care to millions of NHS and private patients every year. Given the role that the independent sector plays in NHS care, it is important that these services are held to the same quality standards as NHS providers.

Supported by the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN) – the membership body for the UK independent healthcare sector – the GIRFT programme led a pilot to review orthopaedics and spinal services across a number of independent sector acute care providers. This involved a review process using an adaptation of the GIRFT methodology to reflect the specific circumstances of this sector.

The purpose was to test whether the GIRFT methodology can support quality improvement in the independent sector.  The aim is to improve patient care, outcomes and safety, in orthopaedics and spines, by highlighting good practice as well as unwarranted variations, untoward incidents and poor practice.

The independent sector providers involved in this pilot included: Horder Healthcare, Nuffield Health, Spire Healthcare and Practice Plus (formally Care UK). Across these providers, a total of 63 hospitals were visited to meet clinical teams and review the data for orthopaedics and spinal services.   An overview of the pilot and some of the general findings are set out in the report below.