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BMA calls for independent providers to be held to the same standards as NHS providers


19 April 2016

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The British Medical Association (BMA) is calling for independent providers of healthcare to be held to the same standards as NHS providers.

The recommendation comes in the doctors’ union’s report into privatisation.

The BMA said that providers and commissioners are facing “unprecedented financial pressures” as spending needs to be rigorously evaluated.

The British Medical Association (BMA) is calling for independent providers of healthcare to be held to the same standards as NHS providers.

The recommendation comes in the doctors’ union’s report into privatisation.

The BMA said that providers and commissioners are facing “unprecedented financial pressures” as spending needs to be rigorously evaluated.

It said that  £7 million is spent annually on independent sector provision of NHS services and “more attention needs to be paid as to whether it provides value for money, comparable quality and safety to NHS patients, as well as what its impact is on other NHS services.”

It said the money spent on independent provision is increasing year on year, amounting to 6.3% of the budget in 2014-15.

It also wants the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to develop “a more standardised approach to regulating independent sector providers in line with NHS providers.” This should include the same requirements for transparent reporting of patient safety incidents and performance.

The BMA wants NHS England to collect data on independent sector provision in each sector, such as community services or mental health services.

CCGs should carry out full risk assessments to determine what would happen if NHS staff chose not to transfer to an independent sector provider.

It cited an example in dermatology where three out of 11 consultants transferred to the new provider.

The BMA also pointed out that an increased reliance on the independent sector “may have serious workforce implications”. It said these could include more staff “working in these environments and not receiving the breadth or intensity of training opportunities they they would have done otherwise at an NHS provider.”

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