A report published by the healthcare think-tank, Centre for Health and Public Interest (CHPI), is calling for greater transparency around the quality of healthcare in the private sector.

CHPI claimed that patients treated in private hospitals are sometimes subjected to inadequate equipment, a lack of intensive care beds, unsafe staffing ratios and poor medical record keeping.

According to figures obtained from the Care Quality Commission by CHPI, just over 800 patients died unexpectedly in private hospitals in England between October 2010 and April 2014, and more than 900 others suffered serious injuries.

The report cited examples which include a surgeon operating in an unsuitable environment because the main operating theatre was unavailable, and an anaesthetist simultaneously covering patients in two different operating theatres.

Linda Millband, National Practice Lead for clinical negligence at Thompsons Solicitors, the firm which is representing hundreds of patients given unnecessary or guideline-breaching surgery by Ian Paterson whilst he was working in the private sector, said: “From our experience of trying to get Spire to properly investigate what went wrong whilst Mr Paterson was working at their hospitals, the private sector has a lot of catching up to do in terms of transparency.

“With more and more public healthcare contracts moving into private hands it is vital that patients can judge the safety of care they are getting from those private providers. All institutions delivering healthcare, in the public or private sector, must be subject to the same levels of accountability and report the same data."