Your vital check list before you re-open

As growing numbers of private doctors move closer to resuming private practice, Prof David Gartry shares his story of The Wimpole Eye Clinic and its phased re-opening.

Prof David Gartry (centre) opened The Wimpole Eye Clinic in London on 29 October 2015 – and closed it again on 23 March this year, the day of the lockdown

After appointment as consultant surgeon to Moorfields Eye Hospital some 25 years ago, and having built up a private practice both there and at The London Clinic, it was my long-term ambition to enjoy the independence –not to mention the legacy and the hoped for investment value – of owning my own clinic. 

The plan had been to invite my closest subspecialist colleagues to work with me; colleagues to whom I have referred numerous patients over the years and to whom I would happily send all my friends and family, not just my mother-in-law.

I had been looking for premises around Harley Street over the years when one happy patient asked if I had ever thought of owning my own clinic? Had I! 

Unworkable constraints

I explained that, notwithstanding the expense, it seemed all the decent properties were taken – mostly by Howard de Walden. Those still on the market, often after months or years, either needed major re-constructive surgery or had unworkable legal constraints. 

My patient had been ‘in property’ all her career and reassured me she was confident of finding something suitable. I reassured her I would not hold my breath.