First-Class Healthcare


With interest in self-pay healthcare on the rise, Tania Jacobs goes behind the scenes of The London Clinic, to see what patients can expect from the private experience

Based in London’s Harley Street medical district, The London Clinic has been providing private healthcare for almost a century. Opened in 1932 by the Duchess of York accompanied by her husband the Duke (later King George VI), the organisation was even then, a state-of-the-art facility. Built with the highest specifications of the day and introducing novel concepts like hospital food, patient comfort has always been high on its agenda. It’s the hospital of choice for around 120,000 patients each year and, in a recent survey, over 98% of them rated their experience as good or very good.

According to The London Clinic’s Medical Director, Satya Bhattacharya, it’s this holistic, highly personalised approach to healthcare that makes the difference. “We understand that our patients’ experience with us is as important to their recovery as the expert medical treatment we provide,” he explains. ‘Any medical procedure from the simple to the highly complex can be daunting. We treat the individual, creating bespoke care packages designed to alleviate any stress or worry our patients may have, so that they can focus on their health.”

Of course, this approach to care is underpinned by a skilled medical team of over 700 consultants and another 1,200 clinical and non-clinical staff. Driven to achieve the best treatment outcomes for their patients, they are the beating heart of the organisation. Many of them, from chefs to surgeons are, The London Clinic is keen to stress, leaders in their fields.

This passion is also the force guiding the charitable objectives of the organisation. As a charity, The London Clinic’s board of trustees are free to set an agenda that focuses on improving patient outcomes, rather than shareholder returns. Profits are reinvested in three key areas: innovation and technology, training and education, and patient care. It’s an approach that has put the organisation at the forefront of personalised healthcare. It’s the first private hospital in the UK to establish a robotic surgery centre of excellence, as well as being the largest stem cell collection centre in Europe and, through a recent partnership with health technology leader Advanced Oncotherapy, will soon bring innovative proton beam therapy to its cancer patients.

Making sure everything is in place to guarantee patients a comfortable stay, is Head of Hotel Services and Customer Services, Luis Pedro. First impressions are important he says. “It’s amazing the difference a smile makes. Our front-ofhouse teams set the tone for people arriving at the hospital. Our aim is to deliver a first-class hotel-style experience alongside first-class medical treatment. That means putting people at ease from the minute we open the door to them and working seamlessly as a team to ensure this good feeling stays with them throughout their visit.”

This team includes housekeepers, interpreters, concierges, catering and security staff. The concierges are an invaluable feature, particularly for patients who don’t live locally. Even before they arrive at the hospital, concierges can help them with travel arrangements, hotel bookings for accompanying family or friends and also theatre tickets, dinner reservations, tours and shopping trips to provide a distraction during their stay.

Patients themselves are accommodated in private, en-suite rooms. As you would expect, these are equipped with Wi-Fi, TV, patient-controlled beds and air conditioning. Added to this though, is the fact that rooms can be customised, throughout a patients stay, depending on the type of procedure they are having and the stage of treatment they are at. It means care can be brought to them, in a space they have become familiar with, rather than having to collect up personal belongings and move between wards.

Also delivered direct to patients is in-room dining. An early innovator in this area, The London Clinic continues to push boundaries in terms of what can be achieved with hospital food. Executive Chef Paul O’ Brien was poached from the London restaurant scene and brings Michelin star experience and a love of fresh, responsibly sourced ingredients to The London Clinic kitchens. Co-developed with dieticians to meet the nutritional requirements of patients with allergies, cultural preferences or changing tastes, Paul’s meals are anything but boring. His menu features dishes such as pan-fried Tiger prawns with harissa and stir fry beef with ramen noodles and broccoli, sitting alongside the familiar sandwiches and staples for when appetites aren’t quite up to gourmet treats.

Walking around the hospital and chatting with the staff, it’s clear there is a passion for delivering excellent service that unites The London Clinic team and makes them willing to learn and improve. They recognise that patients are their most important critics and continually use their feedback to adapt and grow. By continuing to put patient needs first, The London Clinic will be well placed to navigate our changing healthcare landscape and carry on providing healthcare into its next 100 years.


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