New entrants to London’s private hospital market remain bullish about the prospects for growth despite Brexit turmoil and reports of softening demand from international patients.
Speaking at LaingBuisson’s Private Practice Masterclass on Tuesday (20 November), Jim Gutierrez, chair of quality, safety and patient experience at the Cleveland Clinic London said the group was confident in the long-term strength of the market and committed to growing in the capital.
‘We really see Europe and specifically the UK and London as another linchpin in our continued global growth … we know that planning and construction [on the London facility] started before Brexit but you never make a decision to go in this big in the market without doing your due diligence and any economy is going to have its ups and downs,’ said Gutierrez.
He confirmed that the hospital will a range of different employment models, but insisted there were benefits for consultants of salaried employment models.
‘[As an employed physician] I’ve had the security every day that if something happened to me where I couldn’t practice, I will continue to get paid and more importantly my staff will get paid and my patients will be cared for,’ he said.
Erin Shaffer, hospital director at Schoen Clinic London, which also has a mixed employment model, said employing salaried consultants had ensured a level of ‘buy-in and accountability’ among staff while making relationships with PMIs easier.
‘PMIs are coming to us and you’re not having a separate discussion with consultants and another discussion with a hospital…it’s one grouping together,’ she said.
Shaffer added: ‘Many of our consultants have been running their own mini businesses … it’s just that next layer of challenge for them to be involved in more of a hospital business.’
‘I would argue that when you have certain employed consultants they have their business acumens so they want to be applying the clinical aspects but they also want to do it in a business sense as well … so it gives them an opportunity to still have that entrepreneurial spirit matched with the clinical,’ she said.
Gutierrez said new entrants to the London market also meant consultants could take advantage of ‘state-of-the-art’ technology.
‘I think it really gives the opportunity for physicians to work in a different environment … with better clinical support but more importantly with more IT infrastructure…so you’re not stuck with legacy systems that you have to totally ditch to connect up to other systems,’ he said.
Gutierrez acknowledged that the Cleveland Clinic brand was not as well known to patients in the UK as it is in the US, but said he was confident in the growth opportunities.
‘Our approach is going to be a couple of things … we’re getting a lot of attention from clinicians who are interested to work for the Cleveland Clinic so I think that’s going to be part of [our approach], but from an international perspective I think a lot of patients who traditionally would have come to Cleveland… especially from the Middle East which has been a significant part of our business…may now find it easier to receive care in London,’ he said.