Life Insurance  

CC unveils plans to improve private healthcare

According to a statement from Roger Witcomb, chairman of the CC and Private Healthcare Enquiry Group, the measures, designed to remove monopolies and boost competition, come from a 352-page Private Healthcare Market Investigation report that was published last year.

Recommendations now up for consultation include forcing American healthcare giant HCA to sell two of its hospitals in central London. It was also suggested that BMI Healthcare should sell seven of its hospitals in the greater and outer London area, the home counties and the north west of England. The performance of private hospitals and the individual consultants who work in them will also be monitored more closely, with their performance and fees collated and published to provide better information to patients.

Mr Witcomb said: “We have looked hard at how we can meet the challenging task of opening up this market to increased competition.

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“We’re now proposing those measures which we believe will offer practical and effective ways of improving competition and ensuring private patients get a better deal.

“Requiring operators to sell hospitals is a big step and we have focused on those areas where a sale will be effective in increasing competition where a single operator owns a cluster of hospitals that face little rivalry.”

Key proposals

• Divestiture of nine private hospotals

• Competition and Markets Authority to review any private operator’s proposal to operate a private patient unit in NHS hospitals where there would be little competition

• Prohibition or restriction of clinician incentive schemes by hospitals

• Collecting and publishing information on performance of hospitals and consultants, as well as the fees consultants charge

Adviser view

Mike Blake, compliance director for Cheshire-based protection intermediary PMI Health Group, said: “What you may see is that insurers might be able to negotiate better bed rates and prices for theatre if greater competition comes into the market.