Independent hospitals, NHS private patient units (PPUs) and private consultants are all required to submit data to PHIN under the Private Healthcare Market Investigation Order (the Order).

Using this Order, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) aims to achieve: ‘lower prices, higher quality or greater choice of private healthcare services in any market for private healthcare services in the UK’. PHIN collects the required data and makes it available so that patients can make more informed decisions, and healthcare providers can improve services.

Our approach to meeting the requirements of the Order is to work closely with the UK’s private hospitals, PPUs and consultants to help them understand what is needed and to make it as easy as possible for them to supply their data.

We’re grateful to everyone who is contributing their data to help us achieve this aim, and are pleased that this approach generally works very well and we have good levels of participation from hospital sites and consultants. We are aware though that there is always room for improvement, both in terms of completeness of data and data quality. However, we are not a regulator and do not have any power to force providers who are not fulfilling their obligations to do so. That role lies with the CMA who can take enforcement action against hospitals and consultants who aren’t supplying the required information.

Our approach is always to help and avoid anyone coming to the attention of the CMA. However, we recognise that ‘referring’ to the CMA is an important part of the compliance process, when our positive engagement does not have the desired outcomes. We have therefore established referral pathways for hospitals and consultants which lead to the CMA taking enforcement action where appropriate.

Referral processes

The established processes ensure sufficient opportunities are given to avoid referral and subsequent CMA escalation, and to provide a fair and transparent basis for any subsequent procedures to take place. 

The CMA has written publicly to hospitals who were not in compliance with their requirements under the Order. We are in regular contact with the CMA to discuss progress on data submission and to highlight any further potential escalations. 

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