Ratings for private hospitals says CQC

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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has announced that private health hospitals will be awarded ratings from April 2015.

There will be a significant increase in access to information in order to help people who use the services to make decisions about their care, the CQC said.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of Hospitals at the CQC has identified eight hospitals that are going to be inspected under the independent regulator's new inspection approach.

The hospitals are: 

• Baddow Hospital, Essex
• BMI Mount Alvernia, Surrey
• The Lister Hospital, London
• The London Welbeck Hospital, London
• Nuffield Health Tees hospital, County Durham
• Oaklands Hospital, Salford
• Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre, Devon
• Spire Southampton Hospital, Hampshire

The first new style inspections will happen from October 2014. This will allow us to test out our new model in different independent hospital settings. We will expect to receive equivalent performance information from providers to what we receive from NHS hospitals.

The inspections will include announced and unannounced elements and may include inspections in the evenings and weekends when people can experience poor care.

These first inspections will help the CQC refine the way we inspect this sector and help us develop a rating system. It will begin to issue ratings for private hospitals in 2015.

The core services being inspected will include surgery, including cosmetic surgery, urgent care services, medical care, children and young people's care and outpatients.

The inspections will examine whether services are safe, caring, effective, well-led and responsive to people's needs.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of hospitals, said: "We need to hold the independent sector to the same standard as the NHS.

"As we have seen in the NHS, these new-style inspections will allow us to get under the skin of the organisation to give us a much more detailed picture of independent hospital care in England than ever before.

"We are significantly increasing public access to information on independent health care, which is good news for people who use services, as it will help people to make informed decisions about their care."

Where there are failures in care, Richards said the inspections will highlight what needs to be addressed and will ask the hospitals to make sure a clear programme is put in place to deal with any problems.

Last month think tank The Centre for Health and the Public Interest warned on safety risks for patients undergoing operations in private hospitals. 

In April the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ruled that private healthcare providers needed to provide greater transparency to customers about the quality of care given.

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