The National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) has made “initial contact” with the Private Hospitals Association (PHA) regarding the voluntary collection of cancer data and guideline compliance within private facilities, the Medical Independent (MI) has been informed.
The National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026 recognised that while a significant proportion of cancer care is provided in the private sector, the NCCP has no statutory role in the supervision or regulation of cancer care in these settings.
Recommendation 45 of the strategy suggested that the NCCP and private sector providers should work together to achieve voluntary participation in data collection, audit, compliance with guidelines, and reporting of outcomes.
According to minutes of the NCCP’s senior management team meeting in December 2022, released to MI through Freedom of Information law, the Programme planned to have “some initial exploration of this recommendation” with the PHA in the first quarter of this year.
A spokesperson for the Programme told this newspaper: “The NCCP has had some initial contact with the Private Hospitals Association in relation to this recommendation and it is expected that the NCCP and the Private Hospitals Association will progress with discussions on this in Q1 2023.
The spokesperson said the purpose of the recommendation is to offer reassurance to patients, many of whom move between public and private sector care on the patient pathway, and to funders concerning the standards being achieved in the private sector.
They added the data collated and analysed by the National Cancer Registry includes that of patients diagnosed and treated for their cancer within both public and private hospital systems.
A spokesperson for the PHA confirmed that discussions have commenced between the two bodies on the issue.
“The Private Hospitals Association is already working with the NCCP on data collection,” the spokesperson told MI.
“The PHA is continuing to engage with the NCCP regarding the sharing of data with the aim of improving patient outcomes across the entire health sector. Private hospitals are in agreement with the objective of recommendation 45 and are actively engaging with the NCCP to this end.”