News in brief from Private Healthcare Summit

Dr Victor Chua

Dr Victor Chua

Arrow kite Private hospital brand recognition is poor, according to a qualified ophthalmic surgeon and management consultant.

Mansfield Advisors’ partner Dr Victor Chua said hospitals needed to get better known in the community because few people could name their local independent hospital but everyone knew the best local schools.

He suggested hospitals could do more in their community to get known. They should not expect a quick return on investment on advertising – they needed to try to build a brand.

By knowing the true clinical and personal value of their services, they could promote them more effectively.

But he believed only a few providers had ‘an intimate, data-driven knowledge’ of their customers.

Dr Chua predicted that, by 2025, many more consultants in London would work full-time for independent hospitals, who might need to provide indemnity cover for them.


Arrow kiteQuote of the conference: ‘If you don’t like change, you need to get out of the market’: Keith Pollard, head of Intuition Communication, operators of the conference organisers Private Healthcare UK.


Arrow kiteThe typical private patient is 54 years old – and female, like 56% of private patients, the conference heard.

Cobham, Surrey, is the area with the most private patients, according to records from the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN).

The top 20 procedure groups compose 65% of procedures, with cataract surgery on 9.3%.

Boss Matt James said PHIN’s 150 procedure groupings on its website covered 70% of admissions.

14% of admissions appeared to have no procedure carried out. These included medical admissions, but at this stage would also reflect coding incompleteness.

The 16% of admissions with procedures but falling outside the top 150 were typically either very rare or minor and unlikely to form the basis of a search – for example, intravenous chemotherapy, catheter removal and blood withdrawals.

Mr James said PHIN would work to include rare procedures and medical admissions categories.

Consultant performance measures are due next Spring with consultants’ fees the following year.


Arrow kiteSalaried consultants in private hospitals in the UK are on the way, according to Sue Smith, chief executive of the Independent Doctors Federation.

But those specialists who are interested should consider their options and decide how much they want to be tied down.

Ms Smith said her organisation would work with doctors closely to help to advise and support them when they were deciding their preferred route.

She told the conference that private doctors now had to be leaders in decision-making: ‘It’s not about walking in and walking out after the operation anymore.’


Arrow kiteThe way patient surveys ask questions is very important, Chris Graham, chief executive of Picker Institute, Europe, warned.

He gave an example where a study found 64.7% of participants favoured ‘more assistance for the poor’. But when asked if they favoured ‘greater assistance for people on welfare’, only 19.3% voted in favour.