NHS Digital News

29 Mar 2023

Consultation launched on sharing data from private healthcare providers with NHS

People are being invited to share their views on recommendations that NHS England should collect and process information on healthcare activity carried out at private hospitals.

Plans to create a single source of healthcare data in England to improve the quality of care for patients are the focus of a consultation which is part of the Acute Data Alignment Programme (ADAPt).

The programme would result in NHS-funded and private healthcare activity data being available in one place for the first time, offering a more comprehensive insight into the quality of treatment and care across both the NHS and private healthcare settings.

The consultation, which is open until 20 April 2023, comes after the Paterson Inquiry recommended bringing data on all consultant activity together in the same place. This followed the conviction of breast cancer surgeon Ian Paterson for performing harmful and unnecessary surgery on patients across both NHS and private settings.

The Acute Data Alignment Programme (ADAPt) was set up in 2018 as a joint initiative between NHS Digital – now part of NHS England – and the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN).

Pilot projects have shown that private providers are able to submit admitted patient care data directly to the NHS and that this has a number of benefits, especially where data on private hospital activity can be linked to information on NHS-funded care. This can provide insights such as the number of emergency readmissions following discharge from a private provider.

The public consultation sets out the details of how private healthcare hospital activity data will be collected and processed by NHS England, which merged with NHS Digital earlier this year.

James Austin, Director of Data Strategy and Policy at NHS England, said: “NHS data already plays an important role in how we provide high quality patient care and monitor safety reporting systems across the NHS.

“This vision of a single repository of healthcare information, combining NHS and private healthcare, will help provide better insights and lead to improved care and treatment for all patients across both the NHS and private healthcare sectors.

“Working jointly on the ADAPt programme has enabled us to see the benefits of how this might work. We’d now like to invite healthcare professionals, patient groups and individuals to share their views by responding to the consultation.”

A range of views are being sought, particularly on the use and benefits of combining NHS and private activity data within NHS centralised reporting systems.

People have until 20 April to respond to the consultation, by either completing an online questionnaire on the NHS England Digital Consultation Hub or emailing their comments to enquiries@nhsdigital.nhs.uk, and stating ADAPt Consultation in the subject line.

Respond to the consultation

Collection of Private Healthcare activity data by NHS England


Contact Information

NHS England Media Team
0300 303 3888

Notes to editors

  1. The Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) believes that transparency and data enable better care for patients. PHIN is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that exists to empower patients with more robust information about private healthcare that will help them choose the best possible services and care. As the official Information Organisation under the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) Private Healthcare Market Investigation Order 2014, PHIN is responsible for collecting and publishing performance data on all privately funded healthcare in the UK.
  2. The Acute Data Alignment Programme is a joint initiative between the former NHS Digital (now NHS England) and the Private Healthcare Information Network. It aims to bring about an alignment in data standards, measurement and reporting systems across NHS and private healthcare in order to enable greater transparency in quality and safety, support patient choice, and provide opportunities for improving patient care. The ADAPt Board includes representatives from NHS England, PHIN, NHS Improvement, the Care Quality Commission and the Department for Health and Social Care.
  3. NHS England will collect private healthcare APC activity data from PHIN and subsequently directly from private healthcare providers via the Secondary Uses Services (SUS). This will include personal and confidential information and will be processed in line with Data Protection legislation and Caldicott Principles. NHS England will seek Secretary of State Directions under s254 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to establish a legal basis for the collection and processing. NHS Digital will issue Data Provision Notices to PHIN and subsequently in respect of private healthcare providers requesting they supply this data to NHS Digital under s259 of the HSCA 2012. 
  4. NHS England will collect and process the data and make it available to customers who have a suitable legal basis via the NHS England Data Access Request Service (DARS). The data will be covered by the National Data Opt Out, a service which allows patients to opt out of their confidential patient information being used for research and planning.
  5. NHS England may link the data to NHS funded hospital data, and potentially other data sources such as mortality data, to examine possible use cases and potential benefits of combining NHS funded and private patient hospital data within NHS systems.

For media enquiries please email nhsengland.media@nhs.net or call 0300 30 33 888.