Announcement – Single entity created to represent independent healthcare sector

The Association of Independent Healthcare Organisations (AIHO) and the NHS Partners Network (NHSPN) have today announced that from 1st June 2018 NHSPN will lead on representation of the independent healthcare sector.

The move reflects the fact operators in the market wish to see industry representation cover all parts of independent sector service delivery including both NHS-funded and privately-funded services.

Traditionally both organisations represented two clearly defined areas of independent healthcare provision, namely NHS and privately-funded healthcare: AIHO was the trade association representing hospital members delivering privately-funded healthcare services; and NHSPN was the trade body for independent providers of NHS-funded services covering a range of sectors from acute to primary and community care as well as diagnostics and clinical home healthcare.

As the healthcare economy has developed over recent years however there has been a significant increase in the number of independent healthcare organisations simultaneously delivering services for NHS patients and for private patients.

In the view of the industry this makes the time right for creating a single entity for the independent healthcare sector covering all parts of the market offering a stronger, united voice on behalf of the industry, which will help ensure patients receive the highest possible standard of care no matter how it has been accessed.

The newly expanded NHS Partners Network, which will remain part of the NHS Confederation group, will begin representing the interests of the entirety of the independent healthcare sector from 1st June 2018.

Des Shiels, chair of AIHO, said: “As a membership organisation, it is vital everything we do reflects our members’ needs and changes with them. As most of our members now deliver both NHS-funded and privately-funded services it makes absolute sense for there to be a single organisation working to represent their interests.”

Jim Easton, chair of NHSPN, said: “The independent sector in the UK provides health care for millions of patients each year whether funded by the NHS or privately. In doing this the sector works as a key partner to NHS providers and commissioners, as well as on a stand-alone basis, innovating to provide better health care.

“At the same time people are rightly becoming ever more demanding about the quality of care they receive and the time it takes to receive it. Now is the time to create a single organisation for the independent healthcare sector capable of speaking up for its members and ensuring that the safety, quality and efficacy of the work delivered by independent healthcare organisations can be accessed by as many people as possible, however those services are funded.”


All enquiries to:

Association of Independent Healthcare Organisations (AIHO)
Disa Young, Head of External Communications 020 3713 1748

NHS Partners Network
Megan Cleaver, External Affairs Manager 07789 867 919,

Notes to Editors

About legacy AIHO

The Association of Independent Healthcare Organisations (AIHO) is the trade association for independent healthcare providers delivering independently-funded services across the United Kingdom.

AIHO represents over 250 hospitals that provide services to insured, self-paying and NHS-funded patients. AIHO members vary from large hospital groups to smaller, specialist providers of specific surgeries and treatments.

About legacy NHSPN

The NHS Partners Network (NHSPN) is the trade association representing independent sector providers of NHS clinical services. It was established in 2005 and incorporated into the broader NHS Confederation in June 2007.

The independent sector has supported NHS patients since the NHS was created in 1948 and now delivers 0.5 million elective operations, 15% of MRI scans and one third of community services, along with general practice, pharmacy and NHS dentistry.

About (the new) NHSPN

The NHS Partners Network (NHSPN) is the trade association representing independent sector providers of NHS-funded and privately-funded healthcare services.

NHSPN was established in 2005 and incorporated into the broader NHS Confederation in June 2007.

Key facts about the independent sector

The independent sector provides safe, high-quality care to a broad range of insured, self-paying and NHS-funded patients. The sector supports the NHS by providing diagnosis to NHS patients free at the point of need, at a tariff set by the NHS.

The total private acute medical care market was worth £6.05bn in 2015 and independent health providers currently deliver £9bn of care to the NHS.
19 of the top 20 providers under PROMs scores for primary hip replacements are from the independent sector[1]
99% of inpatients said they would recommend independent sector services to their friends and family during 2016
In 2017, independent providers treated NHS outpatients over eight days earlier than the national NHS average
70% of acute independent hospitals are rated either good or outstanding by the CQC
The independent sector employs or contracts with more than 85,000 people in the UK
[1] Oxford Hip score, measured by adjusted health gain between April 2016 and March 2017.