• Five trusts issued with CMA directions after missing reporting deadline
  • CMA gives trusts till the end of October to comply
  • Trusts could face prosecution if they fail to provide data

The Competition and Markets Authority has threatened to take action against five NHS trusts after they failed to hit a deadline for publishing private patient data.

The trusts were this morning issued with directions requiring them to start sharing data on privately funded work by the end of October, or face potential prosecutions. They have already missed the original May 2017 deadline to begin publication.

The trusts are: Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Sandwell and Birmingham Hospitals Trust, Taunton and Somerset FT, Kettering General Hospital FT, Royal Devon and Exeter FT.

Two Northern Ireland providers have also been issued with similar directions today.

Trusts were required to submit details to the Private Healthcare Information Network by 19 May.

This deadline dates from a CMA order in 2014 that requires all providers of private healthcare to begin publishing data on care quality. That followed an inquiry into the private healthcare market, which began in 2012 under the CMA’s predecessor bodies the Competition Commission and the Office of Fair Trading.

Data to be submitted includes patient feedback on treatment, the performance of healthcare professionals and information on infection rates, mortality rates and readmissions to hospital.

On Thursday, Adam Land, the CMA’s senior remedies director, said the information was crucial to provide patients with enough information to choose the most appropriate hospital care.

He said: ”Although progress is being made, certain hospitals have failed to submit any information to PHIN for publication. The CMA is now starting formal proceedings against those hospitals which have made least progress towards compliance. We will take further action against any hospital that is not fully compliant.”

PHIN chair Andrew Vallance-Owen said: ”It’s time for private healthcare to do what other industry sectors have been doing for years which is to quantifiably measure success, identify and improve poor care, and allow good care to stand out.”

HSJ has previously reported concerns among NHS trusts that sharing the data with PHIN will breach information governance regulations. 

In May, head of policy and strategy at NHS Providers Saffron Cordery said there were “legitimate concerns” about how the patient data would be used after it was submitted.

“They want assurance that patient information data will be used in such a way that it remains confidential and does not identify patients.”

PHIN is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and has completed the NHS information governance toolkit process.

Responding to the directions, Taunton and Somerset FT finance director David Shannon said the trust had had some information governance concerns, which had delayed sharing the data with PHIN. However, these had since been resolved and the trust would be complying with the order.

Salford Royal FT finance director, Ian Moston, said: “We have apologised to the CMA and PHIN that our systems and processes have not appropriately escalated this issue. We… are satisfied that we will quickly be able to improve compliance and provide the relevant information.” 

“We treat a small number of private patients, less than 200 per year, and continue to be committed to helping them make an informed decision about their care.”

A Royal Devon and Exeter FT spokeswoman said the trust was “working towards compliance”.

“[We] have submitted a proposal to the CMA which will enable us to supply the information required whilst protecting patient confidentiality and addressing our information governance concerns.”

A Kettering Hospital FT spokesman said providing the data had been delayed by recent board member changes and the trust was now working with PHIN to provide the information.

A Sandwell and West Birmingham Trust spokeswoman said the trust carried out only a small amount of private work and already reported against quality indicators. The trust had already agreed to provide the data to the PHIN prior to direction being issued.