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NHS: Private Sector

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance his Department provides to primary care trusts on contingency plans if private sector service suppliers to the NHS enter financial difficulties. (219331)

The Department is introducing new standard contracts for national health service funded care to be used by Primary Care Trusts (PCT) for the services they commission from all types of provider, whether private or public. The contracts require private sector providers to have in place service continuity plans to ensure the continued availability of those services identified by PCTs as essential, in the event of any disruption of the provider’s ability to provide them.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Guildford of 16 June 2008, Official Report, column 763W, on NHS: private sector, what his definition of a complete package of care is; (221438)

(2) pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Guildford of 16 June 2008, Official Report, column 763W, on NHS: private sector, what definition of an episode of care is used for the purposes of collecting information in the Hospital Episodes Statistics database.

There is no formal definition of ‘a complete package of care’.

Generally, the definition of an ‘episode of care’ is a judgment made locally by clinicians and the local national health service. In terms of collecting information for the Hospital Episode Statistics, the main unit of data collection is referred to as the ‘finished consultant episode’. The finished consultant episode is defined as a period of admitted patient care under a consultant or allied health care professional within an NHS trust.