In 2023 there were approaching half a million visitors to the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) website each looking to make a more informed choice about their healthcare.

The pattern of places people using our website came from match the places people in the UK live. Around 90% came from England, 6% from Scotland, 3% from Wales and 2% from Northern Ireland.

There were also just under 70,000 visitors from 177 other countries, including the USA, India, Ireland, Spain and the Philippines. 98% of private inpatient and day-surgery care in the UK is given to patients who live there, and another 2% from other countries as diverse as Kuwait, Nigeria and Guadeloupe. 

What pages do people visit?

Consultant profile pages (60%) are the most-visited pages on the PHIN website. The information in these pages is supplied by the consultants themselves.

The next most visited (25%) are pages created by PHIN, including procedure guides and help on the private healthcare market.

The remaining 15% of visits are to the profiles of private hospitals and providers serving private patients across the UK. 

What type of people use the PHIN website?

From user feedback on the website, at least 98% of visitors are patients – both NHS patients considering private care and more regular private patients such as those with company or personally-funded schemes. Other visitors include staff from hospitals, insurers, the media, researchers and healthcare regulators.

We speak regularly with patients who come to us with a wide variety of healthcare queries, most often to help them find the right consultant. Some are planning their care, whereas occasionally others are in urgent distress. We are always glad to be able to point people in the right direction or give them information they tell us they find useful.

Patients using PHIN’s website and contacting us come from a broad range of ages and ethnicities. They can have different levels of familiarity with the private healthcare sector and their treatment needs can be very different. Of those we speak to, some are very experienced and just need a contact number, but there are others with very little knowledge and need additional help in navigating their choices or the website.

Very often patients choose private healthcare for practical purposes: because of pain that is disrupting their lives, ease and speed of access to treatment, as well as convenience or familiarity with a consultant or hospital. Some use NHS hospitals for one condition, and private healthcare for another. There is no one-size-fits-all. 

Does the PHIN website help?

From the feedback we collect, many patients find the PHIN website useful.

“Your website was incredibly helpful, and easy to navigate after hearing a catastrophic diagnosis.”

“The site worked well simple to use and most importantly connected me with an excellent consultant.”

“I found I was walking into an op at short notice with an ill-defined pricing commitment. Your advice helps me take back control of the self-financing process and seek a clear package. Thank you.”

We also pick up more critical feedback, often about gaps in consultant or private hospital profiles, or users who want a better search function on the website and to use healthcare conditions rather than procedures to find the right person. We work closely with hospitals and consultants to fill in any gaps and have made good progress with this. We’re also working on making improvements to our search and other aspects of the website.

We welcome and take seriously all feedback, and we are currently prioritising improvements to the website based on what our visitors kindly take the time to tell us and following some recent focus groups we’re hosted. We hope that this will help us bring even greater transparency to the private sector.  

Want to know more about the PHIN website?

We have a guide to how our website can (and can’t) help you below. 

If you are new to private healthcare, then you may want to start with our short explainer videos, which include information about healthcare providers. 

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